Posts Tagged ‘磯自慢’

Shizuoka Breweries 17: Isojiman Brewery

March 9, 2008


The Japan Blog List

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

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Yohji Teraoka is a very exacting gentleman.
His tenacity and fine attention to fine details, coupled with a superior knowledge of his land and people, has earned him national attention and praise for some of the finest sake in Japan that Isojiman Brewery in Yaizu City has been offering over the years.
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Known since its foundation in 1830as Teraoka Brewery until 1990, it became the first kura in Shizuoka Prefecture, and allegedly in Japan, to transform the whole premises into a completely refrigerated brewery as Mr. Takahiro Nagashima, of Nagashima Saketen in Shizuoka City, and I discovered on March 7th.
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The walls and ceilings are internally isolated with metal sheets while the floors are laid with synthetic material enabling the most efficient refrigeration (we had to don coats beforehand as the temperature is constantly maintained under 5 degrees Celsius) and cleaning by powerful water hoses.
Talking of water, Isojiman Brewery, instead of using their own well, utilizes city water. I thought it a bit strange that such fine sake could be concocted with seemingly base tap water until Mr. Teraoka pointed out that Yaizu City pumps it from a well dug in Negishima 130 deep to collect water already naturally filtered all the way down from the nearby Southern Alps. Moreover, the water is again very finely filtered before use. If I needed another proof that Shizuoka is blessed with some of the best water in Japan, I would not have to ask anyone else!
Which explains why Isojiman has concentrated on creating only preminum sake since 1982 when the kura was renovated.
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The crew of 8 local (most of hem in their 20’s and 30’s) led by Nanbu Guold Master Brewer Nobuo Tada and his two aides brew a total of 1,650,000 1.8l. bottles a year.
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Rice comes already polished from Hyogo Prefecture (Toku A, Yamada Nishiki, Aiyama) and Yamagata Prefecture (Kiyonishiki for honjozo sake). Some Shizuoka-grown Hyakumangoku is used to create “Oigawa Meguri” for five local sake shops in Yaizu City.
On the other hand yeasts are Shizuoka HD-1, Shizuoka NEW-5, and yeast grown by the Brewery.
The attention to fine details was amply demonstrated again through a visit of the whole kura. Ginjo tanks are lined with glass instead of the cheaper ceramic variety which tends to crack soon or later, harbouring unwanted matter spoiling the quality of any sake brewed and stored inside the tank.
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The whole establishment is a solid proof that traditional and state-of-the-art equipments can work together. Where wood is needed such as inside the “koji muro”/fermenting rice chamber, it is only the best that can be bought in Japan.
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Alcohol content, dryness and acidity are computer-measured.
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Yeasts are grown and kept in rooms and refrigerators sanitized to the extreme.
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Bottled sake is carefully stored inside their own completely refrigerated and isolated hangars.
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It is traditional grunt work when it comes to the preparation and fermentation of the rice.
As we happened to visit the kura when they were processing the last batch of honjozo rice, we were allowed to manually participate (briefly) and try our hand at working the rice loose before covering it again for further fermentation.
Tim would have felt at home among those young muscular bodies!
On the other hand Etsuko, Melinda and Jocelyn might have felt a bit aggrieved to learn that ladies are not allowed anywhere inside the premises, with the exception of Mrs. Teraoka serving tea to guests inside the office.
Even the great hearty food prepared by grandmother, mother and wife is taken inside by one of the youngest male kurabito.
An interesting and vital detail is that every kurabito/brewery staff, regardless of his age or seniority, has his own private room on the third store with a small lounge overlooking Suruga Bay.

Mr. Teraoka is also extremely passionate about his work. We spent no less than two and a half hours on the premises visiting, talking and tasting the latest brews not on sale yet!
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Such a long interview might also be explained by Mr. Teraoka’s soft soft spot for wines of my own country, France.
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He goes as far as to write the vintage of its best brews in French (with explanation!) and designing his own escutcheon/Arms!

My last impression before we took our leave, cradling precious junmai daiginjo (a “little” present!) in our arms?
I felt impressed, pleased and satisfied! And humbled…

ISOJIMAN Premium Sake Brewery Co., LTD
307, Iwashigashima, Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 425-0032 Japan
Tel.: (81)(0)54-628-2204
Fax: (81)(0)54-629-7129

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Shizuoka Sake for French Cuisine: Sugimoto

November 19, 2007

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

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Sugimoto is a true exponent of local gastronomy: his cuisine is definitely French style, but the difference is that he uses exclusively local products whenever possible. Not only this, but I’m sure he is the only French chef in Shizuoka Prefecture to offer local sake, although it is not written on his excellent wine menu!

For the month of November he has concocted a special menu for the eighth anniversary of his restaurant with vegetables, meat and fish exclusively from Shizuoka Prefecture. I just could not let it pass and my better (worse?) half is certain to kill me if she learned of my gastronomic escapade!

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As for the drinks I started with a glass of Kokkou (Fukuroi City) Tokubetsu Junmai. I’m afraid you will have to check my following postings for more details about the sake drunk during this particular dinner, or we will never finish this posting!
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After savouring a consomme made with wild mushrooms picked in the forests around Mount Fuji, I sampled a delicious pheasant liver pate astride a bed of yams soaked in white Port and topped with edible flowers.
The pheasant was raised by Mr. Horiuchi in Inasa-cho, hamamatsu City. The flowers and yams are also grown in Hamamatsu City.

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By that time I had already downed Kokkou and asked next for Isojiman (Yaizu City) Daiginjo.

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It went down perfectly with the plate of steamed vegetables with a supremely light sauce (secret, I’m afraid).
The vegetables are grown by Mr. Kaneko and his “Migata Hara Yasai” friends in Hamamatsu City.

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The fish, “matodai” from Suruga Bay, was served atop an extraordinary sauteed “Portobella Mushroom” (about7~8cm diameter!), half of it sauteed as it is, the other half chopped and sauteed lying under the fish.
This particular mushroom is cultivated by Mr. Hasegawa in Fuji City.

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As for the drink to accompany the main dish, I was offered a glass of Tomizzo by Hatsukame Brewery (Okabe Cho, Shida Gun). It is a Junmai Ginjo.

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Then came the pheasant roast from the same bird whose liver I was served at the beginning of this repast, a beauty served with bio vegetables grown by Mr. Matsuki in Shibakawa Cho near Mount Fuji and a sauce concocted with Honey Mead from Germany!

By then, I had to give up on any dessert and drank a coffee before “returning home”, replete and happy!

Sugimoto
420-0072 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ni-ban Cho, 4-1
Tel.: 054-2531160
Closed on Wednesdays

Shizuoka Sake Tasting 20-3: Isojiman

November 19, 2007

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

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Isojiman has acquired a universal reputation for perfection. Their brews are truly perfect, but sometimes too perfect in the sense they would sometimes benefit from more individuality. Fortunately, the Brewery has recently ventured in the world of individualistic characterization for the great joy of sake lovers.
Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Yamada Nishiki is a perfect example:

Isojiman Junmai daiginjo Yamada Nishiki
Rice: Hyogo Prefecture 100%
Rice milled down to 40%
Dryness: +4~4.5
Acidity: 1.25
White lees/Kasu ratio: 62~67%

Clarity: very clear
Colour: almost transparent
Aroma: Fruity, bananas, pears, vanilla
Body: Velvety
Taste: Junmai tingle. Complex and elegant. Fruity: bananas, almonds, pears. Lingers in the mouth. Grapes later revealed.
Acidity revealed by food

Overall: extravagant, fruity, elegant, lots of fruit lingering in palate calling fro another sip.
Very complex.
A sake you would happily get lost into!