Shizuoka Sake Tasting 2: Yoshiya Brewery-Chuuei by Melinda Joe



This is the second blind tasting that my good friend Melinda Joe has kindly agreed with this bottle I sent her on March 1st. I obtained the bottle at Yoshiya Brewery, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture when I interviewed Mssrs. Hashimoto and Nakashima (see precedent post).
The only pointer I gave Melinda was that it was completely different from Tasting 1 and that it would make an extravagant “kan” (hot sake)!

Chuuei Karakuchi brewed by Yoshiya Brewery In Shizuoka City, Zaimoku-Cho (that is for your notes)
Brewed and bottled in February 2007
100% Yamada Nishiki
Milled down to 55%
Acidity: 1.3 (low even for Shzuoka)
Dryness: +17 (!!! This is the dryest sake I’ve ever come by!)
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Can be drunk chilled or hot
Shizuoka Koubou

Color: Completely clear
Clarity: Perfectly clear
Aroma: Quiet, ricey,
Texture: very smooth, quite dry
Body: Light, gaining a bit of weight as it warms
Flavor: High-impact, compact, umami-rich rice in midpalate, hints of vanilla and banana custard, integrated bitter notes, quick finish with an herbal tinge
General impressions: refined, restrained, classy, nomi-yasui, tsuyoii, tanpaku, contemplative, secretive

This one stumped my three tasters and me! We struggled to get our palates around it. It was completely different from the Sayogoromo, the polar opposite, as a matter of fact. It was not fruity and flamboyant but had a richness and real presence despite its light weight. Understated and artful.

Thank you again, Robert-Gilles, for introducing me to all the wonderful diversity in Shizuoka sake!

6 Responses to “Shizuoka Sake Tasting 2: Yoshiya Brewery-Chuuei by Melinda Joe”

  1. Melinda Says:

    You are possibly the sweetest man in the world for not mentioning my FAILURE! How could I not have seen it? Even looking at my notes…”quiet nose, light, nomi-yasui, very smooth…” I should have guessed, but that clean dryness (and it was really dry) completely threw me off.

    Now, I know that I’m going to have to branch out in my drinking. I almost never have honjozo, but it’s important to get to know its characteristics. Lesson learned. Thanks, R-G!

    Mata ne,

    PS – Etsuko and I will be able to send you a little quiz of our own after our visit to Odayaka this weekend!

  2. dragonlife Says:

    Wait until you discover my dark side!
    The fact is that Shizuoka Brewers gradually abandonning the brewing of “Futsuushuu” put more effort into their Honjozo, yamahai and others.
    I don’t want to sound too snobbish, but that is why I’m convinced we are blessed with some of the best sake in Japan!

    Oh la, la! Revenge in the air. And I deserve it! Problem is I’m sure to get my backside kicked as a taster, I’m simply hopeless!

  3. etsuko Says:

    Completely blind tasting…. Sounds like Melinda is getting ready for revenge! What an interesting way to discover these Shizuoka sake.

  4. dragonlife Says:

    Dear Etsuko!
    I have put a comment on Melinda’s page concerning honjozo. As I don’t really wish to have you read all through my rant again, have a look!
    Now, Melinda actually a favour to sake and sake tasters. People will soon start to realize what makes the difference between a good brewer and the rest!
    I’ll toast to Melinda for that single piece of enlightment every day!
    Cheers! Sante! Prosit! Skol! Kampai! Na Zdrani!

  5. Melinda Says:

    I know I’ll look at Honjozo differently from now on! The best thing about the Chueii Karakuchi was how well it went with food. I think that this is extremely important because, after all, sake is meant to be enjoyed with food, to support it and never dominate.

    Revenge? Me? Never…

  6. dragonlife Says:

    The fact that Shizuoka Prefecture’s total Production of anything under Honjozo represents only 18% of its output compared to 66% average throughout Japan tends to explain why Tokyo people don’t where good quality Honjozo can be discovered. You compare the situation to that of “vin de Pays” in France: I feel more satisfaction and pride in discovering a relatively cheap good quality “country wine” generally superior to some undeservedly vaunted names!

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