Having taken an interest in drinking sake. Well, you have to don’t you? I’m in Japan and I just want to fit in, so I’m keen to learn about sake. After doing the workshop in Kintsugi gold lacquer porcelain repair. We got to talking with our teacher about all things Japanese, and it turns out that he and his wife have a friend locally that owns and runs an organic sake brewery.
We have arranged a date and they are expecting us. We get the full tour. This lovely old wooden building is the original structure, but the thatch roof has been replaced now. The building is over 150 years old and the young man who shows us around is the 5th generation of his family to be running it.
The water for the sake fermentation is drawn up from a deep well down under the brewery.
The water here is really clean, as it is located well away from any industry, surrounded by steep hills and deep valleys. It rains a lot and the rivers here run powerfully. The granite hills are flawed with millions of tiny cracks and fissures. The water percolates deep into the granite hills and seeps down into the water table.
The rice used for sake making comes from all over Japan. Each district has its own specific character and is used to make different styles of sake. Some are polished more then others to improve the taste and mouth-feel. We also learn that there are innumerable different strains of sake yeast. The life long training and study of Sake making is just like the study of vinology. Learning to match the different yeasts and rice strains to get the best result from the current years rice crop.
As this brewery is a small family affair, they are very flexible in their approach to getting the best result. Everything is done in small batches, so many different brews can be produced during the season.
The equipment used is a combination of the antique and the hi-tech. The giant press is still the original one, where as some of the modern filtering and pumping equipment is stat of the art.
It’s a beautiful old wooden structure. I love the antiquity, the wabi/sabi well-used and loved atmosphere of it all. The sake is excellent too!
We buy two different bottles one medium and the other dry. We are warned that because there are no preservatives used in the manufacture and bottling, unlike commercial sakes, we should keep the sake in the fridge until use and then drink it fairly quickly after it is opened.
That won’t be a problem!