Oosakazuki Macho Yamada Nishiki 80 (大盃マッチョ 山田錦 80) from Makino Shuzo (牧野酒造)
Nectar, n. A drink served at banquets of the Olympian deities. The secret of its preparation is lost, but the modern Kentuckians believe that they come pretty near to a knowledge of its chief ingredient. –The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce
In the above definition the beverage to which the venerable Mr. Bierce is alluding is moonshine, a drink that connotes rusticity and to some, mistakenly in our opinion, inferiority, as well. We hope an anecdote will serve to buttress our view of the rustic. We have drunk, drink, and will continue to drink a lot of wine here at drinkingjapan.org, so we have a number of benchmarks by which to measure the desirability of any given wine. Approximately twenty-five years ago one of us drove into a petrol station in a small town in South Australia and purchased an unlabeled bottle of red wine, presumably produced locally, that was unfiltered—lots of sediment floating around—and probably a lot of other uns as well. The price was about ¥300. To this day, this writer ranks that nameless homely orphan among the best wines he has ever tasted!
Macho is not moonshine, and neither is it a homely orphan, but it does have an element of rusticity to it. This arises from the very low percentage of rice polishing. The rice used is Yamada Nishiki, and 80% of its grains remain unpolished. Furthermore, the sake is unpasteurized, which is always a positive attribute to us. It is full bodied and sweet with no discernible acidity. It is slightly off-white in color and has an abv of 15%, which seems much higher, though. It has a medium (+) finish. We paired it with hard cheese and found that it went very well. After the cheese pairing, we noted some licorice notes. Macho is from Gunma Prefecture. It is a muscular sake. Lift and drink!