The label of this sake is already telling us a story. To me, this is more than just the name of the sake, it is Hermeticism. It’s the Italian version of a haiku. This sake comes from Fukuoka, in the Kyushu Island, and it’s brewed by Mii No Kotobuki. Founded in 1922, this brewery has a very intriguing line up. A lot of their sake has Italian names, references to manga (i.e. Slum Dunk) or labels that make you want to grab them just because they are so darn cute. A good marketing strategy, if you ask me. In Autunno (in autumn) Porcini (you know, like the mushroom) is their autumn sake, also known as hiyaoroshi. This type of sake is sold during autumn and it’s pasteurized only once, whilst most sake is pasteurized twice. It’s a junmai ginjo and it has a beautiful light straw yellow colour that is absolutely inviting. On the nose it has fresh notes of orange peel and plum but also a light earthy aroma of cedar and underwood. This sake is brash like a nama, with notes of unripe plums, cedar and fennel and has the depth and the umami of a junmai. It’s quite balanced and definitely more layered than expected. With a lot of nama, it can be hard to appreciate all the beautiful notes of a sake other than its namaness, but this one has a charming umami that sneaks up on you in the aftertaste. Have it with gorgonzola or with a dish filled with umami, like sauteed mushrooms. Enjoy it chilled at the beginning of your meal, then let it get closer to room temperature so that it’ll lose a bit of its crisp side to become more structured. For me, the biggest surprise was warming it up. Once warm, around 50°C, it becomes so mellow, and changes completely as it develops notes of wood and steamed rice. A warm cup of Porcini is so embracing and inviting, with such a round flavour that makes me love autumn even more. I can definitely say that this is a sake that demands a moment just on its own, without food, to be fully appreciated. The aftertaste is quite clean but very long, and the umami just comes after a while. And it’s after a while that you need to have a plate of tagliatelle with cream and truffle, then you will forget about the rest of the world.
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