Guest Posts · Sake Reviews

Guest Post: Katafune (Lagoon Boat) Junmai by Takeda Shuzo Co. Review

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) judges can’t get enough of Takedo Shuzo’s Katafune range sakes, which scooped top awards in the 2013 and 2015 competitions. According to its website the brewery, located in the western port city of Niigata, was established in 1866 and is currently proudly managed by the ninth and tenth generation of its founder Seizaemon Takeda. 

I chilled a bottle of Katafune Junmai and decided to forego the label recommendation (‘an excellent drink with dinner’), interested instead in how the sake carried itself. 

Appearance: Clear, completely colourless body with no carbonation. 

Nose: There is a light intensity malty / nutty note and fruitiness reminiscent of cherries. 

Palate: A slightly creamy mouth-feels compliments a light and very balanced flavour profile. Again rich cherry notes are prominent and the sweetness is evened out by a crisp and refreshing finish. 

Verdict: Katafune Junmai displays an impressive aroma and flavour profile, where the key descriptor is truly ‘balanced’. With its graceful complexity this is a sake that can easily be thrust under the spotlight in its own right. 

For those who do wish to open with a meal, whilst there are indeed undeniably clean, palate-cleansing characteristics here, the underlying rich, nuttiness means it could easily stick around comfortably until dessert too.

Brewery: Takeda Shuzo Co. Ltd. 

Grade: Junmai 

ABV: 15-16% 

Seimaibuai/Rice polishing ratio: 65%

Jordan Smithcroft is a Manchester-based healthcare worker with an interest in Japanese culture, including Studio Ghibli, Haruki Murakami and Yellow Magic Orchestra. 

Having travelled to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in 2019, he hopes to return to see more of Japan in the near future. 

Jordan was shortlisted for the British Guild of Beer Writers’ Best Young Beer Writer in 2016 and has since expanded his interest into sake. He is currently undertaking the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) sake qualification in the hopes of becoming a judge and educator.

Be sure to check out Jordan’s other sake review of the gorgeous Tensai Touji no Nyukonshu (Brewer’s Perfection) created by the Watanabe Brewery.

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