The arrival of ten new sakes, that have been hand picked by none other than world sake expert John Gaultner. John is my dear friend, sake mentor and knows more about sake than just about anybody in the world!
You can learn more about him here:
John and I have worked together to bring a beautiful collection of new sake to Sake Online for your discovery and enjoyment. There are eight 300ml bottles and two 720ml bottles. We felt the 300ml bottles are perfect to discover new tastes without having to commit to a larger bottle and are great to share with a friend.
Meet our news friends…
|Moon on the Water
|Pride of the Village
|Root of Innocence
Voices in Mist
Well of Wisdom
Soul of the Sensei
The breweries chosen offer great regional representation spanning the length of Japanese main island Honshu. From Nanbu Bijin and Asamai in the north, we come to Sudo Honke in central Ibaraki, we skirt around Tokyo and come to Doi in Shizouka then we head south to Daimon in Osaka, across to Suwa Shuzo in Tottori and then end our journey at Imada Shuzo Honten in Hiroshima. A great tour of Japan by sake that you can do from the comfort of your own dinner table.
Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting each and every sake and giving you some information on the amazing breweries these sakes represent.
Firstly, we will whet your appetite with a stunning Junmai Daiginjo form Doi “Soul of the Sensei“, one of the jewels in our new crown.
|Soul of the Sensei
Seimaibuai 50% (50% polished away)
Rice Yamada Nishiki
Made by Doi Shuzo, Shizuoka Prefecture. Brewed in small batches with Yamada Nishiki rice grown in the brewer’s own fields. Soul of the Sensei (sensei means “teacher”) is brewed in memory of former master brewer (or “toji”) Shokichi Hase. Mr. Hase worked tirelessly at Doi Brewery for over 40 years. He was one of four famous toji known as the “Four Guardians of Heaven” of the prestigious Noto Toji Guild. Doi Brewery continues its former sensei’s traditions with this clean, dry, and rich brew is one of Japan’s most highly regarded sake. Aromas of clean honeydew rind, grainy rice with a touch of earth. The impact on the palate is soft and rich but not cloying. A gentle sweetness envelops the tongue while the clean, high-strung acidity does the work. It has loads of body but is able to maintain tightness and structure. While spicy honeydew and dry anise dominate up front, the finish is dry with good spicy white pepper and jasmine notes.
♦ Kura History in their own words ♦
Our brewery began in 1868, four years after the Meiji Restoration. We have now been brewing sake for four generations, here in Shizuoka near the ruins of Takatenjin Castle, where many a battle was fought. The founder, Yasuichi Doi, was the village leader, and with all the changes that arose during this time, he knew he had to choose a new path, and he chose sake brewing. His will has traversed time and generations as we continue his work today.
♦ The Sake ♦
Our sake is fragrant and lively, layered and complex. The melting qualities of our wonderful mysterious water and the essence of the fine rice that we use combine to create a sake that suffuses the palate and dances with complexity and flavor, with a fragrance that is prominent and alive. Also contributing to this is our own Yamada Nishiki rice, grown here in Daito. Making sake is hard work. In particular, making ginjo sake can be grueling. But that is precisely why making great ginjo can be such a source of happiness.
♦ The People ♦
Our current kuramoto (president), Kiyoaki Doi, is the fourth-generation leader. Upon taking the reigns from his father, he was told, “You can brew more sake than we do now if you like, or you can brew less. Do whatever you want. But whatever you do, never let the quality of your sake fall.” Our current kuramoto has indeed taken these words to heart.
<< Photo: Doi President Kiyoaki Doi
♦ Size and Special Characteristics ♦
Our kura’s production is very small, being perhaps 800 “koku” a year. As one koku (the traditional measure of sake in Japan) is 180 liters, about 150 kiloliters is brewed here each year, in the traditional brewing season which runs from late October to early April. Although we could certainly sell more if we chose to make it, we like to keep our output at a level where we can control the results, and continue to brew our naturally wonderful sake.
♦ Notable Quotes ♦
Water is the life of sake. No water, no sake. Although many kura use water from wells inside the kura, we bring ours here from a spring nearby, close to Kotenjin Castle, an old battleground about two kilometers to the south.
It is very mysterious water. Why? Because it is soft water, which gives the sake a melting, absorbing quality to it. However, soft water usually means a slow, sluggish ferment. But this particular water results in a lively, vigorous fermentation period. On top of that, it is so pure it needs no filtering, no additives to chemically adjust it. Nor is charcoal filtering of the final sake needed. It yields a natural moromi and a wonderful flavor and fragrance.
♦ The Toji (Master Brewer) ♦
<< Photo: Toji Shokichi Hase
Our former toji, Shokichi Hase, passed away in 2010. Our special Junmai Daiginjo — Soul of the Sensei — was brewed in his memory by our new master brewerShinba Minori. Incidentally, Toji Hase worked tirelessly at Doi Brewery for over 40 years. He was also one of the four famous toji known as the “Four Guardians of Heaven” of the prestigious Noto Toji Guild. (Toji guilds are small groups of notable toji whose main objectives are to educate and train successors, to refine skills, and to uphold and improve the reputation of the sake from their region). Toji Shinba continues in the same fine brewing tradition as Hase, allowing us to create precisely the sake we try to brew — a clean, dry and rich sake that is one of Japan’s most highly regarded.
Andre Bishop is a Melbourne based Sake Professional and is recognized as one of Australia’s leading authorities on Sake. His 12 years of experience in designing Asian and specifically Japanese venues include well know Melbourne establishments Robot Bar and Golden Monkey. He currently owns the 22 year old Japanese dining institution Izakaya Chuji and Sake Bar Nihonshu. He is also co-owner and founder of Melbourne’s flagship Izakaya and Sake Bar, Kumo in Brunswick East. Andre studied Sake in Japan and is the only Australian who currently holds a Level 2 Sake Professional Certificate from the International Sake Education Council.
Andre is available for Consulting on Sake, Japanese Beverage Lists, Sake Staff Training and Sake Equipment. Contact: [email protected]
Sake Master Andre’s blog: www.sakemaster.com.au
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Please click here for Sake Master Andre Bishop’s older interview