Shizuoka Sake Tasting 7/1~7: Fuji-Takasago Brewery

Takasago Yamahai Shikomi Junmai Shu Hiyaoroshi Namatsume

It’s been some time since I tasted a sake from Fuji-Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya City.
Since September is the time to taste the Hiyaoroshi sake/sake taht has been sterelized only once, it is such an embarrssment of choices, but I opted for this brewery as it is slightly unusual in Shizuoka refecture.

The real title for this particular sake is “Takasago Yamahai Shikomi Junmai Shu Hiyaoroshi Namatsume”!
Meaning: Takasago (main name) Yamahai Shikomi (old style brewing) Junmai Shu (Junmai=no alcohol added) Hitaoroshi Namatsume (bottled without a second sterilization.
On top of this it is a genshu/no water added!

Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Takasago Yamahai Junmai Hiyaoroshi

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100% (Hyogo Prefecture)
Riced milled down to 55% (extravagant!)
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu)
Dryness: -3 (sweet for Shizuoka)
Bottled in September 2010

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Faint golden hue
Aroma: Strong, very fruity: bananas, vanilla, sweet ornages
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong attack with a lot of junmai “petillant”, sweetish.
Complex: Macadamia nuts, bananas, oranges, vanilla.
Warms back of the palate for some time. Lingers for a while with very dry almonds backed up by oranges and vanilla.
Sweet by Shizuoka standards at first approach but dries up quickly.

Overall: A sake that can be greatly enjoyed chilled or at room temperature.
Great as a sweetish aperitif or in lieu of a port wine.
Strikes a great marriage with choclate or blue cheese.
Chilled, can be drunk as a dessert drink! Would do excellently poured over ice-cream!

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Fuji-Takasago Brewery-Takasago Premium Yamahai Dai-Ginjo Genshu Nama

Fuji-Takasago Brewery certainly makes for long titles!
Located in Fujinomiya City, it is not truly a completely local brewery as it has been absorbed in a bigger conglomerate of the same name.
On the other hand, regular staff are local and the concept of sake brewing is very much according to the Shizuoka tradtion and tastes.

This particular bottle is pretty rare as only 30 (720 ml) of them were made before the rest of the batch was modified with water and more sterilization.

The sake was brewed according to the Yamahai method.
Although it is not a junmai (alcohol was added), it is a genshu, meaning than no pure water was further added to lower the alcohol content. Moreover it is a “nama”, meaning unpasteurized.

Fuji-Takasago Brewery-Takasago Premium Yamahai Dai-Ginjo Genshu Nama

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 50%[Alcohol content: 18~19 degrees
Bottled in March 2010
Limited edition: 30 (720 ml) bottles

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Transparent

Aroma: Fruity, complex, fleeting, Pineapple, coconuts.

Body: Fluid

Taste: Sweetish attack. Turns dry and deliciously acid very quickly.
Complex. Cherries, coconuts, mirabelles, pineappple.
Fades away very quickly with notes of bitter choclate, apricot, coffee beans and dry almonds.
Surprisingly mild for such a high alcohol content.
Holds its own so well with any food.

Overall: Surprisingly elegant for a Yamahai.
No wonder so many breweries in Shizuoka are tackling this kind of sake judged “rustic” in other Prefectures. Shizuoka yeast influence?
Most probably.
Another sake for all seasons, to be appreciated at all temperatures on its own or with food, chilled, at room temperature or “nurukan” (40~45 degrees)!
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Shiboritate Otafuku Honjozo

takasago-hon.jpg

Who said (in Tokyo?) that honjozo were for the locals?
If that is so, I am extremely proud and pleased to be considered one!
In the case of Shizuoka Prefecture, honjozo are probably the most unpredictable and beautiful sake (in my humble peasant opinion…LOL)

Fuji-Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya has come up with another beauty (sorry, I’m repeating myself!):

Shiboritate Otafuku Honjozo

Rice milled down to 60%
Bottled in December 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light golden tinge

Aroma: very fruity: strawberries/pears/melon

Body: velvety

Taste: very fruity at first: lots of strawberries.
Varies shrply and turns complex with food.
Almonds/bitter chocolate wit a hint of acidity.
“Nurukan”, heated to 40~50 degrees: gets drier/still plenty of strawberries. Turns more “aggressive”

Overall: A sake for all seasons. Can be drunk chilled with a reminiscence of ice-cream.
Lots of fruit. The strawberries taste is quite a discovery!
The brewers actually suggest to drink it from on the rocks to nuruma!
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4) Fuji-Takasago daiginjo “Soleil”

takasago-soleil.jpg

This is the third bottle tasted by the Shizuoka Geeks on December 7th, 2007

Takasago Daiginjo “Soleil”
I was told that the owner of Fuji-Takasago Brewery had a soft spot for French wines, hence the name “Soleil/Sun”! He went as far as mentioning: “Mis en bouteille par Fuji-Takasago syozo et Cie Fujinomiya Shizuoka, Produit de Japon” (only one small mistake, LOL).
It was even corked!
A very extravagant sake, I wonder if the Shizuoka Geeks realized they were drinking nectar!

Only one metion:
Rice milled down to 35%

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Golden hue

Aroma: Light, flowery

Body: velvety

Taste: Elegant/Fruits/Strawberries.
Lingers long in mouth with more strawberries and flowers/coffee beans.
Bitter chocolate appears with food.

Overall: Elegant. Very easy to drink. A session sake, although perfect with food!

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3) Fuji-Takasago/Junmai Nama Genshu

takasago-homare.jpg

This is the second bottle sampled by the Hamamatsu Geeks on September 14th:
Takasago Junmai Nama Genshu (Fuji-Takasago Brewery, Fujinomiya City).

Rice: 100% Homare Fuji grwon in Shizuoka Prefecture
Rice milled down to 60%
Bottld in March 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: beautiful gold

Aroma: Ricey, light/fruity/Flowers

Body: smooth

Taste: Complex. Welcome tingle due to its “nama” and “genshu” nature, which spreads very quickly through the palate. Bananas, gardenias.

Overall: Solid and satisfying. Very popular with ladies in spite of its strong nama-genshu character. A sake to go with any food.
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2) Fuji-Takasago/Junmai Ginjo

takasago-jg.jpg

Tasting can either become a heavy load on your liver or on your purse. I usually acquire 720ml bottles, but whenever I can grab those 300ml flasks, I don’t hesitate as they allow me to go through a lot of brews and limit myself to one sample a day. Thinking there are well over 300 brews to taste, I have no worries about psoting articles!
This particular brand was one of four I bought yeaterday. I gave it priority as it is from Fuji-Takasago Brewery in Fujinomiya City, quite a long way from Shizuoka City

It is a “nama” (unpasteurized) junmai gunjo bottled in May 2005
The only indication about rice was that is was milled down to 58%.

Clarity: very clear

Colour: very light golden tinge

Aroma: light but sharpish/ricey

Body: smooth/velvety

Taste: Very light with a welcome lingering tinge on the palate. Banana, roasted nuts/liquorice

Overall: Very easy to drink, in spite of its “nama” nature. A little weak for some maybe. Well suited for beginners
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1) Fuji-Takasago/Yamahai

takasago-yamahai.jpg

For once, I tasted a sake brewed in the Eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, more precisely from Numazu City.
By pure coincidence the sample was introduced in the Dancyu Magazine, April 2007 edition, as a typical example of “Yamahai” (cold brewing) sake.

Name: Takasago/Fuji Takasago Brewery/Yamahai Shikomi Junmai Genshu Arabashiri
Rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: -3

Clarity: absolutely clear
Colour: transarent
Body: light and dry

Aroma: Light flowers, fruit, discreet and elegant, almost shy. Quite light flavour for such a style of sake avoided by many brewers.

Taste: Apricot/banana/almond. Easy and smooth on the palate. Leaves a strong “petillant” after swallowing.

It could be considered a macho sake in Shizuoka Prefecture, but would probably please ladies in other parts of japan, too.

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