Shizuoka Sake Tasting 8/12: Sogatsuru-hagi no Kura Brewery

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This is an extraordinary story and sake!
Four years ago, the near defunct Sogatsuru Brewery in Kakegawa City was resurected thanks to a dispute between two cousins at Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City to become Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery.
Despite the long lay-off, unsold sake had been carefully stored at under 5 degrees Celsius all the time.
For the pleasure of a very few lucky ones (like me!), the brewery has decided to blend the best three of this true vintage sake (all of the same method and ingredients!) into an extremely rare nectar!
It goes without saying that this sake is in fact the jewel of a bygone era!

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery (Sogatsuru Brewery in fact!): Daiginjo Genshu Blend

Sake blend:
1991, 12%. 1994, 38%. 1996, 50%.

Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Rice milled down to 40%
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Blended and bottled in June 2008

Clarity: Very clear (extraordinary quality!)
Colour: light golden tinge (very little colour for such old sake!)
Aroma: Fruity: bitter chocolate, coffee beans, memories of vanilla. Discreet and pleasant.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Very fruity. Complex. Elegant. Extremely pleasant.
Bitter chocolate, coffee beans, vanilla.
Shortish tail.
Mandarines and almonds peeking through with the second sip.
Sweetish with a faint dry finish.

Overall: The word “extraordinary” would be an understatement!
Should be drunk like a great sweet wine or old Port.
As a superlative aperitif? Even better, with the cheese or chocolates at the end of a great meal!
Very limited in quantity unfortunately.
At the same price, no wine could compete!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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4 Responses to “Shizuoka Sake Tasting 8/12: Sogatsuru-hagi no Kura Brewery”

  1. Melinda Says:

    Yum Yum yum! Robert-Gilles, you lucky dog. How do you do it?

    By the way, I am looking forward to hearing the results of your sake personality quiz on my blog!


  2. Melinda Says:

    You indeed have a good nose!

    Thank you, my friend, for the gift! Can’t wait to try it and will give you a full report!


  3. dragonlife Says:

    Dear Mel!
    To help with your posting (you owe me that!), here is the complete story as a few “things” happened very recently, including
    details that are not supposed to be known. Well, you know what a “secret” means for the Japanese!

    Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City was created in 2004 after one of the cousins running Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City
    decided to start a brewery of his own after an “argument”.
    New brewing licenses are not given any longer by the Japan Excise Bureau. The only way to get a new license is either to take over
    a Brewery or buy the license of an inactive Brewery.
    Sogatsuru was on “vacation/kyuugyou” in Kakegawa City at the time.A partnership agreement was struck and the Brewery revived under the name Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura.
    This is brand new information ( 2 pieces actually)
    -The Haginishiki cousin has decided to separate himself completely from Sogatsuru this very week and will relocate in Kakegawa City
    under the name of Hagi no Kura Brewery.
    -Yoshiya Brewery (Chuumasa) in Shizuoka City will close in March (do you remember the “Hole in One” sake?). The “official/tatemae” reason is that Mr. Nakashima, the Nanbu Masterbrewer had to retire for health reasons, and that the owner does not want someone to produce a different sake… The “real/honne” reason is that no one among his daughters or sons-in-laws wants to take over. Instead they are all, especially the wife (how do I know?…), in a hurry to sell the whole. The land alone is worth a fortune as it is located in prime land (incidentally the owner is more interested in golf and his Merceds Benz than preserving 250 years of history!)!
    Hagi-no Kura has already bought the whole equipment (vats, bottling machine, the lot!) and the sake that will still be sold under its name until all is gone. Whether Hagi no Kura will preserve the Chuumasa name under a limited brand is subject to speculation.
    The sake I sent you will be doubly “maberoshi sake” because it was made/blended with sake made during the Sogatsuru Brewery era and under the name of Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery whose era will end in march 2009!

    Looking forward to reading your post!

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