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Sake Reviews

Kamoshibito Kuheiji Eau du Desir 2021 Junmai Daiginjo | 醸し人 九平次 EAU DU DÉSIR 2021 純米大吟醸 [山田錦 50%]

 

Kuheiji Kuno is a particularly philosophical spirit. Unlike many of his sake-making peers, the 15th-generation heir to Kuheiji Sake's Banjo Jozo often talks about his sakes in an almost poetic manner. "Korin, Jakuchu, ... Did you have the feeling that you were writing about culture?" asks Kuheiji in his opening address on his brewery's philosophy, calling out to revered 17th-century Japanese illustrators as if they were his contemporaries.

Kuheiji also has a particular affinity for France and its arts, ever since he was struck by Monet's Water Lilies that he had observed on a school trip to Paris when he was just 18.

 

Kuheiji Kuno, fashion model turned sake maker, is a particularly philosophical spirit. (Image Source: Kuheiji)

 

This is all particularly key when appreciating Kuheiji's sakes (or wines, for that matter - yes, the brand does both). While the brewery itself has operated since 1647, Kuheiji Kuno has largely reshaped its trajectory since he took over the helm - and his love for France clearly has a deep influence on the brewery's produce.

His sakes standout for the use of vintages, French names, clear indications by domaines of harvest and rice varietals - his sakes even sport a fairly new style of being lightly effervescent, as if taking a page out of Champagne-making.

  

A respect for terroir is necessary for sake appreciation, a key lesson Kuheiji has adapted from French winemakers. (Image Source: Kuheiji)

  

But for this Francophile, these aren't mere theatrics. They reflect a deep understanding, reverence and appreciation for the terroir from which his sake's rice is harvested.

To Kuheiji's mind, his sakes should offer a distinctive taste that reflects the changing climate from one harvest to the next, the difference in rice varietals and even the specific domaine from which the rice is harvested from.

To ignore the influence of the terroir is to Kuheiji's mind what would impede the sake making tradition from being passed down from one generation to the next.

     

  

All this has not gone unnoticed, with the brewery gradually growing its own cult-following that has even found its way to the haloed counters of some of the most esteemed Michelin-starred restaurants such as Guy Savoy and Le Gabriel.

That sounds like every sake-maker's dream, and yet Kuheiji maintains that he, in the vein of his sake forefathers, is on a relentless pursuit of "new brilliance". The former fashion model and prolific art collector who dons his brewery with highly bided artpieces, has ventured to the country that most captures his fascination - France. He's not only established his own vineyards under the Domaine Kuheiji banner, he's also sought to grow rice in France for use in his sake expression "Born In Camargue".

Today, we're gonna take a sip of Kuheiji's 2021 Eau de Desir Junmai Daiginjo, or "Water of Desire". It makes use of Yamada Nishiki rice polished to 50% and bottled at 16% ABV. 

Kamoshibito Kuheiji Eau Du Desir 2021 Junmai Daiginjo | 醸し人 九平次 EAU DU DÉSIR 2021 純米大吟醸 [山田錦 50%] - Review

 

Tasting Notes

Color: Light White Wine, Pale Straw

Aroma: Silky with notes of ripened green melons, green pears and green grapes. The creaminess is accompanied by green fruitiness, a light sweetness, with just a faint acidity. It’s generally mellow and rich. 

Taste: The creamy and silky texture delivers on the palate, with mellow but sweet ripe green melons and yogurt. Here it’s deeper and richer.

Finish: The acidity is more pronounced here with a slight white pepper kick overlaying a still creamy and sweet profile, with hints of that ripened green fruits. Here there’s a light effervescence and minerality that shines through with a backseat tone of cedar wood tannin.

 

My Thoughts 

When you first pop it open, you’ll notice smoky wisps similar to what you’ll commonly find with champagne, however this effervescence is interwoven very gently and only becomes apparent at the finish.

What it does provide is a very aromatic nose of ripened green fruits, lightly sweet on a bed of creamy yogurt. It’s mellow, aromatic and lush without any prickle. And then on the palate, you’ll be pleased to find that creamy and silky texture as promised by the aromas - largely a continuation of what was on the nose but deeper and richer here. Towards the finish is where it spices things up little with a good contrast of acidity and very gentle pepperiness to the overall sweet, fruity and creamy saccharine profile thus far.  

My Rating

 💃

This is such a fashionable sake - it has an elegance from the aromatic flavors, light spritzy effervescence and gentle crisp tartness.

This feels posh and classy and is incredibly drinkable - all at a great price as well. If they're in the business of making joy juice - they've definitely succeeded.

It really has an elegance about it - not just in its presentation, but across the entire tasting experience, it’s balance, body and aromatic but rich and mellow fruity flavours are incredibly cohesive. It has that sparkle to it. 

This is incredibly drinkable with not a very pronounced alcohol kick and would pair very well with heavier foods - meats and cheese platters. You could easily see this as a sweeter-style Chardonnay, and definitely one for Champagne lovers. Just lovely!  

I was incredibly pleased with this as I had read good reviews about it and it truly delivered - this is one I’d readily recommend as a gift or for a nice dinner to impress or treat yourself.

   

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot