Archive for May, 2007

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 14: Shidaiizumi Brewery

May 26, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



Shidaizumi Brewery (Fujieda City) recently came up with an original brew made with a rare rice strain:

Shidaizumi Junmai Ginjo/Hiroshima-Hattan 35 Go
Brewed in May 2007
Rice: 100% Hiroshima-Hattan 35 Go (Number 35)
Rice milled down to 50%
Yeast/Kobo: Shizuoka New-5
Dryness: +6
Acidity: 1.3

Colour: transparent

Clarity: very clear

Aroma: Ricey

Body: fluid, turning a little syrupy

Taste: Complex, bitter chocolate, liquorice, spreads quickly on the palate

Aftertaste: Petillant lingers, turns sharp with a hint of acidity.

Overall: strong character. Great with sushi, potato salad and greens.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 13/2: Hana No Mai Brewery

May 25, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



This Daiginjo was brewed by hana No Mai Brewery, Hamamatsu City, on April 17th, 2007

Rice: Shizuoka Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 45%

Colour: transparent
Clarity: very clear

Aroma: light and fleeting. Ricey/flowers

Body: light

Taste: Slightly complex and light. Dry-sweet/flowers/bitter chocolate

Aftertaste: fleeting, petillant on palate. A little residual acidity. Disappears quickly.

Overall: a sake for ladies beginners. Would improve with food, especially sushi.

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 13/1: Hana No Mai Brewery

May 24, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



This Nama Junmai was recently brewed on April 5th, 2007
The rice was milled down to 60%
Hana No Mai Brewery uses only Yamada Nishiki rice grown in Hamamatsu City

Colour: ransparent

Clarity: very clear

Aroma: Pears, light.

Body: light

Taste: Pears/vanilla/fruit. Bustles into petillant as it meets the palate

Aftertaste: Linger for a while. Stays even and soft

Comments: would be a good nama for beginners to try and study a an aperitif after a hot day.

International Virtual Tasting: Hana No Mai Brewery

May 21, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



Like-minded Japanese sake lovers and tasters decided to compare two brews produced by Hana No Mai Brewery, Shizuoka Prefecture, Hamamatsu City (formerly Hamakita City) and compare them for their taste and characteristics.

Please check for comparison notes published by Melinda, andEtsuko in Tokyo and Valerie, Timothy and Eric & Hiroko in the U.S!

Name: Hana No Mai Ginjo
Brewery: Hana No Mai Brewery Co., Ltd.
Grade: Ginjo
Prefecture: Shizuoka // Overall Rating: 7
ALC: 15.5 // 4 Fragrant
SMV: +5 // 6 dry
Acidity: 1.2 // Simple 2
Seimaibuai (milling %): 55% // quick finish 2

Aroma/fragrance: light cherries/Ricey
Clarity: very clear
Colour: faint amber
Body: light
Taste: good, dry, discret. Cherries, soft faint vanilla
Aftertaste:dry, tends to disappear quickly.

Overall: dry, light drunk best at room temperature or lukewarm.
Brewmaster Kazuhito Tsuchida explained to me that this sake was especially designed for beginners and young people.

Name: Hana No Mai Junamai Dai Ginjo
Brewery: Hana No Mai Brewery Co., Ltd.
Grade: Junamai Dai Ginjo
Prefecture: Shizuoka // Overall Rating: 8.5
ALC: 15.5 // 4 Fragrant
SMV: +4 // 4 dry/sweet
Acidity: 1.3 // Complex 5
Seimaibuai (milling %): 5o% // Lingering 6

Aroma/fragrance: light, flowers
Clarity: very clear
Colour: transparent
Body: light
Taste: gentle on the palate, soft, petillant, apricot, white peach, nectarine, gardenias
Aftertaste: petillant lingering into citrus fruits

Overall: dry, light, absorbing. Best drunk at room temperature

Izakaya: Bu-Ichi

May 21, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



Bu-Ichi has long been a special favourite of mine and has never disappointed over the years thanks to the shy chef’s constant attention to details and knck for discovering the right staff.
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From starters to main it is a succession of solid good qulaity izakaya fare.
But Bu-Ichi’s forte is fish, either as fist-class sashimi or
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cooked, grilled or home-preserved.
The menu will take quite a few visits to exhaust.
Now all drinks are available, but sake from Shizuoka will satisfy anyone and does include some rarities such as:
Sayogoromo Honjozo (Morimoto Brewery), Kokkou Tokubetsu Junmai, Kikuyoi Junmai, Fujinishiki Daiginjo (who got the highest accolade for Daiginjo in 2007!), Hatsukame Junmai and Isojiman Honjozo!

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420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 1-6-10, Dai 2 Matsunaga Bldg. 2F
Tel.: 054-2521166
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advisable

Sake & Soba 2: Togakushi

May 21, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



Togakushi is an institution in Shizuoka City where it has half a dozen restaurants. Contrary to most “chain restaurants”, it had to open branches since itsfounding in 1968 due to the constant demand. Even on a week day you might have to queue to find a table.
My better (worse?) half and I chose to have a late lunch there at around 2:30 p.m. and had still to wait 10 good minutes. But it allowed us to get the best seat in the non-smoking area by the bay window opening onto a tiny garden.
Togakushi serves only soba, but in so many variations you will to come again to exhaust the menu. Even one of their creations, “Isooroshi” has been awarded a commercila patent!
Now the good news for hungry people is that Togakushi has some excellent set menu for only 1,000 yen as shown on picture above!
For the sake lovers, Isojiman (Yaizu City!), one of the 10 most popular sake in Japan is on the menu!

Togakushi Soba
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Seikan-Cho, 12-1
Closed on Sundays
(as for other restaurants, it might vary)


Traditional Izakaya: Takano

May 19, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



I had meant for a long time to introduce one of, and probably, the oldest traditional izakaya in Shizuoka City, namely, Takano.
Conveniently situated near the JR Station, it was founded in 1923 and is presently looked after by the fourth generation in the person of Susumu Takano (36) who has the advantage of speaking fluent English. His parents and relatives are still near to give a hand, and he certainly needs all their help as the place usually is packed by 5 p.m.!
I could not postpone the visit any longer when my good friends Neil and Mark agreed to all meet there last night (May 18th) in the company of a lady friend, Miki, and Mark’s better half later.
I made sure to take their picture before we became hopelessly overwhelmed by our drinking as usually happens in the company of those two Englishmen, especially when I can drag them from the beer into sake!
Food at Takano is plentiful, very reasonable and of good quality. Always ask for the sashimi assortment if you want to know what we people in Shizuoka eat.
And do not miss the specialty of Shizuoka, Sakura Ebi as Tempura or Kakiage. You will never tire of it!
Susumu is a fan of shochu, but he has obtained some good jizake by associating his establishment with Haginishiki Brewery (Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku)
For hot (kan) sake you have Haginishiki Honjyozo
We decided to taste all the cold jizake available:
Haginishiki “Minami Alps” Tokubetsu Honjozo
Haginishiki Toro No Sato Tokubetsu Junmai
Haginishiki Junmai Ginjyo
We asked for three more bottles of the last one!
By that time, I was getting a bit fuzzy and decided to postpone further experiences to future articles!

420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koya Machi, 5-4 (behind Parco Dpt. Store)
Tel.: 0542510131
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays

Sake & Sushi 1: Sushi Ko

May 19, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!


Last Thursday (May 17th), my better (worse?) half and I thought it was about hight time to pay a visit to our favourite Sushi Restauarant In Shizuoka City, namely Sushi Ko (not to be confused with its parent establishment in Tamachi).
The main reasons why it is our favourite is because:
1) the fish and all food are of superior quality
2) the prices are clearly posted up
3) it has sake and shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture.

Now for sake lovers, Sushi Ko has the following Shizuoka Jizake among its list:
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Kan (hot): Fujinishiki Honjoozo (extravagant for a hot sake!)
By the glass: Isojiman Honjozo, Shosetsu Tokubetsu Honjozo, Kikuyoi Junmai, & Kokkou Ginjo
300 ml bottles: Fujinishiki Junmai Ginjo, Masuichi Ginjo
And one superlative kome/rice shochu, Fuji no Shizuku by Fujinisiki!
As for the sushi just judge from what we sampled:
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Sushi Ko
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae Cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 on Sundays
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advised
Credit Cards OK

Homepage (Japanese)

Sake & Soba 1: Mumaro

May 17, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



In not so long past ages, the Japanese used to drink their sake and shochu, depending on the area they dwelt, at soba shops.
Slowly but surely better quality soba shops are making an effort to serve comparatively good sake and shochu.
Such an establishment can be found in Miyakochi, Hamamatsu City (formerly Hamakita City, a ten-minute car trip from Komatsu Station along the Entetsu private railway.
The fact that it opened its doors just beside Hana No mai Brwery/Distillery in 2004 is no coincidence!
It serves sake and shochu from the same Brewery, garanteeing fresh products of the highest quality.
The sake offered on the menu are a very dry junmai
a ginjo
and a dai ginjo
All by the glass, 300ml or 720ml bottle.

As for the soba, they are excellent and of the extravagant “ju-wari” kind, all made on the premises, with an interesting “yaki soba miso” on the spoon (see above picture). They also offer for sale a great array of local honeys not to be missed.
The perfect place to eat soba after or before visiting their great neighour brewers!
The place is full most of the time and will sometimes close early as only soba made on the day are served.

Hamamatsu City, Hamakita, Miyakuchi, 619
Tel.: 053-5822212
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00, 17:00~20:00
Closed on Monday nights, and Tuesdays

Hana No Mai Brewery

May 14, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



On May 14th, I finally managed to find the time to go to Hamamatsu and visit the largest Brewery in the Prefecture, namely Hana No Mai Brewery located in Miyakuchi, formerly part of Hamakita City, now merged into the new cosmopolitan City of Hamamatsu.
To reach the place you have to board the train to Komatsu on the Entetsu private railway line just outside Entetsu Department Store and then take a taxi or walk for a good hour like I did.
The brewery seems small at first glance., but the facade is cleverly designed to hide the vast complex behind. Mr. Kazuhito Tsuchida, the young (48) Toji/Master Brewer was expecting me and I must say that for the whole time I spent in his company, I felt extremely welcome. Mr. Tsuchida was born but followed his father to Hamamatsu when he was still at Primary School. We almost spent the same time in Shizuoka Prefecture, and although he does visit his homeplace from time to time, I felt he was truly a man of Shizuoka. Actually, the only thing not from our Prefecture in the whole Brewery is the cedar ball “imported” from Gifu Prefecture!
Hana No Mai was founded in 1864 and was called Inasa Brewery until December 1949.
The Sales Department is under the responsibility of the last generation of owners’ son, Kazuo Takada. Mr. Tsuchida, who became the resident Toji at the age of 32 is now in charge of the whole brewing, while the brewing of sake is being delegated in great part to Mr. Jun Aoki (32).
This is a Large brewery by Shizuoka standards as it numbers 65 employees with 10, including 2 ladies!, in charge of the brewing solely. Employees are of all ages, a sure sign of an assured future.
All ingredients used for the brewing of sake and distilling of shochu and liqueurs are from the Prefecture:
Rice strains are Shizuoka Yamada Nishiki, Homare Fuji, Shizuoka Goyakumangoku and Shizuoka Natsushizuka.
Mr. Tsuchida develops his own HD-1 NEW 5 and K901 (Shizuoka) yeasts.
Alcohol is also made in our Prefecture.
Hana No Mai has been brewing premium sake only since 1995.
Thay have the license to distill kome/rice shochu of extravagant quality as well as umeshu from junmai sake.
Hana No Mai Brewery is not only very open about their business but also generous in allowing everyone to take water from their well!
Mr. Tsuchida then took me to an extensive tour of the facilities where I could see the modern equipment inside buildings completely renovated and computerized,
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including hangars for the rice,
enormous vats for all the sake where sake was brewing,
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the room where rice was fermenting (see above picture), the bottling system for a new product,
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all under the benevolent protection of a small shinto altar
It was a long tour indeed, and all the time it was made all the more pleasurable by a truly enthusiastic master Brewer who made a point to present me with plenty of o-miyage/souvenirs to take home.

Hana No Mai Brewery is presently exporting to the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong.

Another piece of good news, for collectors, as Hana No Mai Brewery brews more than 200 private brands for local businesses!

Last, but not least, two sake brewed by Hana No Mai will feature in an international virtual tasting in New York, Tokyo and Shizuoka whose results will be silmutaneously published on the 21st of May by Melinda, Etsuko, Valerie, Timothy, Hiroko & Eric and your servant!

Hana No Mai Brewery
434-0004 Hamamatsu City, Miyakuchi, 632
Tel.: 053-5822121
Hamamatsu City JR Station, Costa East Aisle
Te.: 053-5474855
420-0923 Shizuoka City, Kawai, 100-7
Te.: 054-2657210
140-0011 Tokyo, Shinagawa Ku, Todai, 6-4-3, Estomer Todai, 502
Tel.: 03-37657391

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 5b: Shizuoka Sake Tasting in Tokyo

May 9, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!


This is a second posting as Tasting 5 was incomplete due to (“inebriated”?) malfunctioning communications for which I would like to apologize to all concerned!


Etsuko Nakamura of Tokyo Foodcast and Melinda Joe of Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass teamed up to taste two more bottles I sent them. Etsuko was kind enough to send me her notes:

We finally tasted your special hole-in one Chumasa. That was so good!
Thank you for the opportunity to sample a special sake!

Hole-in One
Chumasa Brwery, Shizuoka City.
Dai Ginjo, Hyogo Yamadai Nishiki rice 100%, Rice milled down to 40&. Brewed in February 2007. Not for sale
Subtle melon/banana fruity aroma
Nice finish with slight bitterness, but that bitterness has really
Nice balance and does not stand out
Light and good overall balance

This one went really well with food. It does not stand out by itself,
not like some Daiginjo that screams “look at me”, rather it has very
elegant personality.

The other day at Kaiun, they said Shizuoka Kanpyokai does not like
having too much aroma, but try and keep it really simple.

Fuji Takasago Junmai injo Muroka Nama. Unfiltered and unpasteurized. Rice milled down to 55%
Very fresh “nama” with good balance
I see they have Yamahai and Yamahai Honjozo. I will look for one of these to try next time.
Etsuko Nakamura

Color: Completely clear
Aroma: tropical fruit (melon, banana)
Texture: very smooth, dry
Body: full with soft edges
Flavor: Strong attack leads you into thinking that the sake is completely dry, but sweetness blooms in the finish. Mild fruit followed by a few balancing bitter (herbal) notes toward the end. The sake finishes beautifully, showing sweetness that slowly unfurls before vanishing quickly from the tongue.
General impressions: nicely balanced, clean, superb finish

The following are collective tasting notes on the other 3 sake (7 tasters).

1) Takasago

Aroma: green apple, honeydew, v. fruity, typical of nama, a hint of peppermint
Texture: smooth like water, dry then becomes sweet, a little sticky
Body: light – medium
Flavor: fruity, apparent acidity, bitter notes
General: easy to drink, sawayaka, pleasant kuse, long finish

2) Hana no Mai

Aroma: faint, floral, fruity
Texture: firm and dry, easing up and softening toward room temperature
Body: light
Flavor: light in flavor, evident (strong) alcohol, no kuse, savory notes – “I taste the sea.”
General: This sake improved as it warmed. Very subtle, fluttering sweetness followed by a quick finish.

3) Mystery Sake

Aroma: more pronounced than #2, fruity and sawayaka, pleasant
Texture: soft and billowing, but still dry
Body: medium, fullest of the 3
Flavor: strongest flavor of the line-up, umami roundness, deep, citrus notes with hints of herbs in the follow-through, sweet but with a clean and refreshing finish
General: kirei, quiet, gentle, soft and round (my favorite of the 3)
At the end of the evening, we voted on our favorites. Here’s how it turned out.
Mystery Sake: 4
Takasago: 2
Split vote: 1 (best aroma = Takasago, best flavor = Mystery)

Thank you again, Robert-Gilles! It was so much fun!

Answer to the “Mystery sake”:
Daiginjo “Shizuku” Tori Genshu by Sugii Brewery, Fujieda City
Dryness: +5
Acidity: 1.2
Rice milled down to 40%
Alcohol: 18.4 (pretty high, isn’t it?)
Yeast: Shizuoka HD-1, NEW-5


Takashima Brewery: Hakuin Masamune

May 7, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!


On Monday, May 7th, suddenly finding myself with some time to spare, I agreed to travel all the way to Numazu City with my sake friends, messrs. Nagashima and Yokoyama, to visit a Kura I had wanted to visit for some time: Takashima Brewery whose sake are known under the name of Hakuin Masamune.
The last generation who took over to let his father enjoy a well-earned retirement, came in the person of Kazukata Takashima, a burly judoka of nearly 29 years. For all his apparent youth, he showed us quickly he was already an accomplished “kurabito” keen to share his knowledge and experience. He came back to his father’s kura 5 years ago and selcted himself a toji/master brewer of the Nanbu School from Iwate Prefecture to help him improve his family’s business before he completely takes over all aspects of brewing with his staff of 4.
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Upon entering his office, a quasi museum, I noticed a scroll featuring the same design as on Hakuin Masamune new bottles. Mr. Takashima explained the scroll had been bought from a Korean Antiques shop by his father and he used the drawing for his new brews as it happened to represent in general shape the second Kanji of forename!
Sitting in the middle of an bric-a-brac of antiques oand curios f all sorts, we briskly asked our questions Mr. Takashima seemed only to happy to answer and build on.
We tasted the water from his well as he explained it came from a depth of 50 metres where the waters originated from nearby Mount Fuji’s snow and took 350 years (yes 350!) to slowly sip through rocks to finally reach this location! He showed the “Torii” and shine the family built for the well which has served his kura so well since 1804.
We learned that the name of his sake was actually gifted to his family, whose first trade was net weaving for the fishermen of Numazu, by powerful members of the religious warrior sect led by Hakuin Eikaku who regularly came to drink and appreciate the sake made by his family for domestic use only at the time.
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We were then taken on the traditional tour of the kura where modern equipment equally shared space with traditional facities and tools. We tasted the water, a pure nectar with its distinct characteristics.
Once back to his office, Mr. Takashima had us taste his new yamahai junmai (Yamada Nishiki Rice 60%) not put on the market yet, first chilled, then warm ed to an exact 39 degrees to show how his brew behaved differently according to temperature. I must admit it came up at his best slightly warmed, a discovery for me who usually does not appreciate “kan” (warm sake)!
As Mr. Takashima does not only brew sake but also shochu, we were offered a second lecture on his distilling and also offered the taste of his research on loquat and plum liqueurs!
His annual production presently amounts to 50,000 bottles (1.8l), none of is normal “futsushu” which he thankfully ceased 5 tears ago. He mills his own rice, using Yamada Nishiki, Gohyakumangoku, Mutsuhomare from Aomori and Homare Fuji, but plans to use only rice harvested in Shizuoka Prefecture soon. His yeast is “Shizuoka New 5”, and his junmai production represents 40% of the total output.
I might have to conduct an interview again very soon as Mr. Takashima will not only use ingredients made and harvested solely in Shizuoka Prefecture, but also intends to organize events to promote Shizuoka Prefecture sake, including sake tasing sessions!

Takashima Brewery
Shizuoka Prefecture, Numazu City, hara, 254-1
Tel.: 055-9660018
Fax: 055-9668324
Homepage (Japanese)
No direct sales

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 12-1: Haginishiki Brewery/Surugayoi no Nama Ippon

May 7, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



More and more Breweries in Shizuoka Prefesture make use of ingredients locally grown or developped. And I think it is a proof of their dedication!
This particular sake was brewed April 2007 by Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City exclusively with Fuji Homare Rice.
It is a “nama” jyunmai with 100% Fuji Homare Rice milled down to 60%. Dryness: +3, Acidity: 1.2 (low even for Shizuoka!)

Aroma: ricey

Clarity: very clear

Colour: faint amber

Body: fluid

Taste: Bitter chocolate/vanilla/Roasted nuts.
Typically jyunmai petillant.
Lingers bitter-sweet in palate for a fairly long time.
I would recommend it with dessert!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 11-1: Hatsukame Brewery

May 6, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



Hatsukame Shirushi (First Tortoise Seal) was brewed in December 2006 by Hatsukame Brewery in Okabe Cho, Shida Gun. Their toji is from Ishikawa prefecture and of the Nanbu School.

It is Ginjo, rice milled to 60%, Dryness +1 (almost sweet for Shizuoka) and acidity 1.2 (quite low).

Aroma: light/Grapefruit/Orange/Plum

Colour: faint amber

Clarity: vey clear

Body: light

Taste: Almost sweet, easy to drink. Grapes and oranges. Does not stay long in mouth.
Would be perfect with “oden”!

Blind Tasting by the Tokyo Geeks!

May 4, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



For more information please visit Etsukp Nakamura’s excellent blog, Tokyo Foodcast

The best way to promote Shizuoka Sake is to send samples to real sake connoisseurs up in Tokyo and have them analyze them in blind tasting sessions!
Although I describe myself as a Shizuoka Sake Lover, I will never reach the proficiency of these ladies and gentlemen who have made it an integral part of their living!.
Here are the results of the latest Quizz sent to Etsuko Nakamura, Melinda Joe and their Jolly Good Friends:
The first bottle (“white one”) was brewed by Kumpai Brewery in Shizuoka City in March 2007:

What did we think it was?
2 – Honjozo, 4 – Junmai including 1 Nama, 1 – Ginjyo


Fragrance: Light, fruity, candy, hint of alcohol, ethyl caproate aroma, yeasty, floral, banana, unfiltered muroka aroma?
Taste: Good balance, nama green, sweet attack, robust, rustic, bubbly at the beginning with light ending
Aftertaste: Sharper aftertaste/good, dry, slightly metallic/burnt? lingering, wood/organic?
Overall: Slightly sweet that goes well with scallop sashimi, sensitive, begins to get heavier with higher temperature, doesn’t leave an impression, “Quick chat with a friend on the way to catch a train.”

Good results as this is:
“Kumpai Sakura”
Junmai Ginjo, Nama genshu (Shinshu), Yamada Nishiki Rice 100%, Rice milled down to 55%
My compliments!
The second bottle (“blue one”) was brewed by Doi Brewery in Kakegawa City in March 2007:

What did we think it was?
2 – Junmai or Jungin, 1 – Jungin Nama, 1 – Junmai or Honjozo with a hint of nama muroka, 1 – Junmai, 1 – Honjozo


Fragrance: More nama than 1, melon, delicate, pear, light, new sake fragrance
Taste: Sweet with a hint of bitterness, stronger taste with more flavors than 1, well rounded compared to 1, taste banana type sweetness at the beginning with a light finish, melon/round, not nama muroka
Aftertaste: Pop!, higher acidity, more bitterness, alcohol aftertaste, very sweet in finish, long and finishes well
More balanced than 3, fresh/full/blooms, “I started out disliking #2 slightly, but it really came together with some air and time, temperature”. More weight, more extreme, w/r/t sweetness & bitterness “Dinner with work mates after a hard day’s work”

Also excellent results as it was:

“Kaiun Hana No Ka”
A very difficult proposal as it was brewed in March 2007 in the old way for the first time in a hundred years!
Junmai, Genshu Nama Sake, Takatenjin Koshihikari rice: 23%, Fuji Homare Rice: 77%, rice milled down to 55%

My hat off again!

There was a third bottle, but it was a present, not a quiz. They got it right, though!

We are all going to have a virtual tasting in 3 weeks. make sure to read our comments!

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 10: Takashima Brewery/Hakuin Masamune

May 1, 2007

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!



Last night I think I found a sake from which I will really find it difficult to keep my hands off!
Numazu City is scelebrated for its fish all over Japan, and recently for its beer thanks to Bryan Baird, but it has always been a place where great sake was brewed.
Takashima Brewery, or Hakuin Masamune as it is usually known, has a long history of coming up with some very original ideas (try their shochu “En”. You will be really surprised!).
I fianlly got around buying the first of their bottles (they do have quite a few), and honestly speaking, the reason why I chose this particular one among the half dozen available at Nagashim Saketen was its label!
For once the contents deserved their label!
This sake is ismply called Junami Ginjo, Hakuin masamune”. It was brewed in February 2007. Rice milled down to 50%, alcohol content 16.5 degrees. That’s all…

Color: very light amber

Clarity: perfectly clear

Body: solid

Aroma: light/cherries

Taste: the cherries (black/dry) guessed in the discreet aroma came up powerfully in the mouth to linger a long time like a balm on the palate with the typical junmai petillant.

I immediately “fell in love” with the nectar. I will have to send it to Tokyo, as it deserves better coverage!
Now, I will have to check that brewery thoroughly!