Shizuoka Sake Tasting 8/1~13: Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery, “Kazutoyo” kakegawajyo/Kakegawa Castle Junmai Ginjo

This could very well be the last bottle I drink from Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City as Hagi No Kura Brewery has definitely left Sogatsuru after buying Yoshiya Brewery’s license and moved to Shizuoka City this April although they could have done it last year!

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery, “Kazutoyo” kakegawajyo/Kakegawa Castle Junmai Ginjo

Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Rice milled down to 55%
Bottled in March 2003

Clarity: very clear
Colour: transparent
Aroma: Fruity. Alcohol. Pineapple, banana.
Body: Fluid
Taste: Fruity and soft attack backed up with junmai petillant.
Dissipates quickly.
Complex. Almonds, nuts with memories of banana and coconuts.
Dry finish. Welcome acidity.
Holds its well with any food.

Overall: Despite its ginjo level, a sake fit for food.
Straightforward and unpretentious sake. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Delicious combination of sweetness and acidity.

Will miss that grand name, although I can expect the same from the new brewery!
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Daiginjo Genshu Blend

sogatsuru-blend

This is an extraordinary story and sake!
For years ago, the near defunct Sogatsuru Brewery in Kakegawa City was resurrected 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 liitle 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!
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Shurara Junmai Ginjo

shurara-jungin

This is third consecutive tasting of an Autumnal brew by Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City. I hope Melinda will take note! LOL.

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery: Shurara Junmai Ginjo

Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in October 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Fruity: banana, vanilla, hints of almonds
Body: Velvety
Taste: Sweetish attack. Shortish tail. Complex.
Fruity: banana, vanilla, almonds, bitter choclate.
Finish with beautiful acidity with hints of lemon.
Turns sweetish with a short tail again with food (amino acids?)

Overall: Another typical Shizuoka sake.
Great with food of any kind.
Complex sake with quickly changing character
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Tokubetsu Junmai “Shurara

shurara-toku

I still have a couple of new Autumn brews by Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City to enjoy before I start looking around, and here is the firs one (actually, Melinda is also tatsing it, so we’ll be able to compare notes!):

Sogatsuru-hagi No Kura Brewery: Tokubetsu Junmai “Shurara”
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Very light golden tinge
Aroma: Pleasant, fruity, bananas, vanilla
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail. Smooth attack backed by junmai tingle. Complex. Warms up back of the mouth.
Fruity: bananas, vanilla, hints of melon.
Pleasant with a dry finish accompanied by coffee beans.

Overall: Typical Shizuoka Sake.
Fruity, smooth, elegant. Drinks so easily.
A sake fit both for tasting and with food.
—————————–
Tenkou Junmai Genshu

soga-tenko

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery, located in Kakegawa City, which rose again like the legendary Phoenix is steadily growing in stature and fame as their new brews amplyprove!

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery: Tenkoo Junmai Genshu

Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +3
Acidity: 1.3
Yeast: Shizuoka yeast
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Bottled in October 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light Golden Tinge
Body: Velvety
Aroma: Discreet. Fruity: pear, coconuts.
Taste: Short tail. Sweetish attack with dry finish. Nice alcohol. Fruity: Coconuts milk, banana, coffee beans, bitter choclate, vanilla. Very complex.
Turns drier with food.

Comments: A very solid sake revealing multiple facets backed by a dry acid finish.
Probably best enjoyed with solid izakaya food.
Unusual sake for Shizuoka!
——————–
Fudo Sogarsuru Ginjo

Got hold of another limited brew from Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City. For a once moribund brewery, it cetainly shows a lot of vitality!

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery: Fudo Sogatsuru Ginjo

Alcohol: 18.2%
Rice milled down to 55%
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast HD-1
Dryness: + 4.5
Acidity: 1.3
Water: Oigawa Water bed
Bottled: March 2008
Limited to 180 bottles sold in 30 selected liquor shops

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Discreet, almost sweet. Bitter chocolate, bananas, almonds.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Dry. Coffee beans. Short tail. Alcohol lingering on palate.
Complex and fleeting. Soft on the tongue. Varies little with food.
Almonds appearing later with drier impression.

Overal: Elegant in spite of high alcohol.
Marries well with food, even salty one.
Best appreciated on its own or at the end of a meal.
Almost liquorish.
Very much “Shizuoka Type” sake
————————–
Fudo Sogatsuru/Junmai Genshu

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura continues to assert itself back more and more in the World of Shizuoka Sake Breweries and has been venturing into some remarkable limited brews:

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery: Fudo Sogatsuru, Bessen( Special Selection), Nama Shibori (unpasteurized), Roka zennukitori (Unfiltered)

Alcohol: 17.5 degrees
Rice milled down to 60%
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast NEW-5
Dryness: +3.5
Acidity: 1.4
Water: Oi River Bed Well
Bottled: March 2008
Limited Brew: 180 bottles (720 ml)/Sold in 30 selected shops

Clarity: very clear
Colour: Light Golden Tinge
Aroma: Light, fruity, flowers, bananas, vanilla, melon.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Complex. Strong alcohol. Fruity, bitter chocolate, berries.
Alcohol tingle lingering in upper palate.
Turns drier with second sip. Almonds appearing later

Overall: Very pleasant, almost elegant in spite of high alcohol and nama status.
Typical of Shizuoka style.
Drinks beautifully with food with more almonds and bitter chocolate appearing.
Re-affirms itself between foods.
Difficult to escape from!
Although not stated it is a junmai genshu.
————————–
“Chiyo” Junmai Ginjo

Ii is at last getting easier to brews from the former Sogatsuru Brewery in Kakegawa City since its revival in 2004 thanks to one of the brothers at Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City.
But I certainly still have quite a few more left to survey!

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery: “Chiyo” Junmai Ginjo
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Rice milled down to 55%
Bottled: August 2007

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Light and fruity. Bananas, melon.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Short tail. Nice junmai tingle. Dry. Coffee beans, bananas, bitter chocolate, nuts.
Quickly turns dry on palate.
Almonds appearing later

Overall: A very “Shizuoka Type” sake. Best suited with food. Very dry, great with tempura and fried food!
——————————-
Kazutoyo-Kakegawajo Ginjo

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery has accomplished a fully-fledged return since their transformation 4 years ago from a moribond Sogatsuru Brewery for the pleasure of all sake lovers.
I decided to taste their Kazutoyo brand name again this year when I found it in Kakegawa JR Station.

Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura Brewery: Kazutoyo-Kakegawajo Ginjo
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled (300 ml): November 2007

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Almost transparent

Aroma: Fruity and sweetish: Melon, bananas

Body: Velvety

Taste: Short tail. Nice alcohol. Very fruity: melon, bananas.
Complex and elegant. Turns a bit drier with food with more almonds and apricots.
Turns sweeter again away from food with a hint of bitter chocolate.

Overall: Drinks well with food. Easy on the palate.
Deserves to be drunk with great food. Very “Shizuoka-style”.
Original balance between sweetnes and dryness.

———————————-
Sogatsuru Junmai

sogatsuru-jun.jpg

I said the other day I had developped this special relation with Sogatsuru Hagi no Kura Brewery, but I have just finished the last bottle I had in stock! Will have to travel far to find the next one unless I can convince one of my liquor shop owners/friends to fetch me one!

Sogatsuru Hagi no Kura Brewery Junmai

Rice milled down to 55%
Bottled in August 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Light Golden Tinge

Aroma: Fruits, bananas, mango, pineapple

Body: velvety

Taste: Sweet at first with a characteristic junmai tingle. Fruity: bananas, mango, bitter chocolate, almonds.
Turns quickly dry. Mango and bananas linger on the palate.

Overall: “Shizuoka Type” sake. Very pleasant. Reveals new facets with food.
On its own tastes like a dessert drink at times. Drinks so well with food. wouldn’t take anyone much time to guzzle down!
Can also be enjoyed as “nurukan”, I would say at a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius. Slightly chilled in summer could be a good idea, too.
———————
Sogatsuru Ginjo

sogatsuru-gin.jpg

In 2004, Sogatsuru Brewery in Kakegawa City was in a real danger to disappear as they were officially “on vacation”. luckily, they had not relinquished their license when one of the brothers owning Haginishiki Brewery in Shizuoka City decided to go on his own and acquired the precious license. I said “precious” because it is practically impossible to get a new one from the Japanese Tax Bureau. As I had tasted a bottle of the old Sogatsuru Brewery, thinking it was the last one, I have developed a special fondness for that brewery now called Sogatsuru-Hagi no Kura.
Not only have they revived the Brewery, but they have recently made an extensive use of the appellation “Sagatsuru”, too.

Sogatsuru-Hagi No Kura Brewery-Ginjo

Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in October 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Light golden tinge

Aroma: Sharp and light at he same time. Fruity: Plum, grapes, kinkan oranges.

Body: Velvety

Taste: Welcome acidity due to alcohol.
Very feminine in character. Fruity, flowers, oranges

Overall: A sake fit for tasting sessions. Probably best appreciated as aperitif or on its own. Shizuoka type sake. Refined

—————-
2) Hagi No Kura-Ichitomi

hagi2.jpg

Hagi No Kura, or more precisely, Sogatsuru-hagi No Kura (Kakegawa City) are slowly asserting their reputation since azquiring Sogatsuru Brewery in 2004.

Ichitomi is a straigthforward Ginjo made from rice milled down to 55%

Clarity: Clear

Colour: light golden

Body: light

Aroma: Ricey, light

Taste: light, straightforward. Coffee, bitter chocolate, vanilla.
Welcome acidity lingering. Disappears quickly.

Overall: Straightforward. Goes well with any food.
——————
1) Hagi No Kura Junmai

haginokura.jpg

I finally got my hands on a bottle brewed by Sogatsuru-Hai No Kura Brewery in Kakegawa City.
This is a “new” brewery as the old Sogatsuru Brewery was acquired by one of the brothers at Haginishiki Brewery (Shizuoka City) who decided to fly on his own wings in 2004.

This particular bottle is a junmai brewed in September 2006.
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +3
Acidity: 1.3 (very low for Shizuoka)

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: very light tinges of amber
Body: light

Discreet fruity fragance
Green apples leaving the place to faint roasted nuts. Linger in the palate.
Develops into typical petillant of a junmai upon swallowing.

A discreet elegant brew fit for an aperitif or a laid back drink at home. Goes well with seafood.
————-
2) Ichitomi

hagi2.jpg

Hagi No Kura, or more precisely, Sogatsuru-hagi No Kura (Kakegawa City) are slowly asserting their reputation since azquiring Sogatsuru Brewery in 2004.

Ichitomi is a straigthforward Ginjo made from rice milled down to 55%

Clarity: Clear

Colour: light golden

Body: light

Aroma: Ricey, light

Taste: light, straightforward. Coffee, bitter chocolate, vanilla.
Welcome acidity lingering. Disappears quickly.

Overall: Straightforward. Goes well with any food.

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