Shizuoka sake Tasting: Makino Brewery-Shimizu Minato Jirochou Junmai Ginjo

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Although Makino Brewery is located in Fujinomiya City at the foot of Mount Fuji, Shimizu Minato Jirochou has been one of their brand names for quite a long time!

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Shimizu Minato/清水港 means “Shimizu Harbor”, a still importnat harbor nowadays, but a very important one in Edo and Meiji Times. Actually the samurai fighting against Emperor Meiji initiated their retreat from Shimizu Harbor before being finally vanquished, at least officially, in Hakodate!

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Shimizu Jirochou/清水 次郎長 whose real name was Yamamoto Chyougorou/山本 長五郎 (February 14th, 1820~June 12th 1893 became a local hero during the struggle between the samurai clans and Emperor Meiji when he helped the harbor of Shimizu flourish and his nickname Jirochou eventually became the name of the District in Shimizu City (now Shimizu Ku, part of Shizuoka City) where he was born. One of his exploits was to clean the bay of corpses after a ship crew were assassinated during the civil war and bury them in nearby island. He went as far as running an English language school in Shimizu.

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But there was a very dark side to him, leading to his fleeing from the authorities and even being imprisoned for 7 years for murder. But legends tend to grow bigger than individuals… many histprians consider him a hoodlum in spite of the many hagiographies and the small museum to his name in Shimizu Ku!

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Rice: Hyakumangoku + Koshi Ibuki
Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15 degrees
Dryness: + 4
Acidity: 1.2
Bottled in December 2013

Clarity: very clear
Color: Very faint golden hue
Aroma: Assertive. Dry. Fruity. banana, almonds
Body: Fluid
Taste: Strong attack with puissant junmai petillant.
Pleasant alcohol.
Very dry and fruity: apples, custard, almonds, oranges.
Disappears quickly on an even drier note.
Takes on a milder turn with food, but quickly switches back to its initial dryness.
Almonds and coffee beans tend to appear a lot later on the palate.
Turns only a little milder as nurukan/lukewarm but shows different facets: chestnuts, custard, nuts, oranges.
Dark chocolate making a late appearance.

Overall: An “old fashioned sake” away from the norms set by modern Shizuoka sake trends.
Solid and dry, obviously conceived for food in spite of its elevated status. Millage is low by Shizuoka standards.
Best appreciated with heavy food such as izakaya fare.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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