Gunma Izumi – Chotoku Yamahai Junmai (1.8L)
The designation “Chotoku” means special, denoting a higher percentage of rice milled/polished away, or in this case using 100% of a special rice. Using locally grown Wakamizu rice in a Yamahai brewing style gives this sake a weighty, round, earthy palate of mushroom, roasted carrot and sweet potato augmented by a refreshing ripe fruit character of peach and papaya. This Junmai polishing rate far exceeds the requirements of 70%, and is instead polished to 50%; creating a light but very concentrated sake that finishes with a dry, mineral laden note. It is excellent served slightly warm as well as chilled. 15-16% alcohol.
Rice: 100% Wakamizu
Yeast: Kyokai 9
About the Producer
Located in the eastern region of the Gunma Prefecture between the Tone and Watarase rivers, this traditional brewery has prided itself on producing sake in small batches to maintain excellent taste and quality since 1863. Because of the traditional and laborious brewing-style of this brewery, the Toji only employs the most experienced kurabito (brewery workers).
The most important ingredient that goes into this sake is the water, which is from a local well in Akagiyama. It is high in minerals, making it a bit ‘harder’ in style (still soft compared to most water sources in the world) and providing a round and rich mouthfeel due to a more vigorous fermentation. All the sakes produced are aged anywhere from 1 to 3 years prior to release, acquiring in the meantime the depth and color for which the brewery is known. This sakagura is famous for their traditional style of brewing called Yamahai, using only the natural yeast that has built up in the brewery over many generations. Between the higher mineral content in the water, Yamahai method of producing the shubo, and aging of the sakes, the brewery is synonymous with rich, layered, complex and bright sakes. They are incredibly versatile with food, and great at any temperature.
Part of the brewery was severely damaged by a fire at the turn of the century. Because of the importance of the sakagura to the community, the local townspeople came together to rebuild and rehabilitate their beloved brewery.
Click here for Shimaoka Shuzo