Shizuoka Sake Tasting 6/1~11: Omuraya/Wakatake Brewery


Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu « Jiro »

My fellow sake bloggers, especially Timothy in New york will interested by this brew we actually tasted at Oomuraya Brewery in Shimada City last October! The name « Jiro » is that of the fifth-generation Master brewer!

Oomuraya/Wakatake Brewery:
Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu « Jiro » (unpasteurized and unaltered)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku 100%
Rice milled down to 55%
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast
Dryness: +2~+4
Acidity: 1.4~1.6
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Bottled in November 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Dry, fruity, bananas, spicy
Body: Fluid~velvety
Taste: Strong attack emphasized by the nama and junmai characters. Short tail. Complex. Nice alcohol.
Fruity: bananas, coffee beans, mandarines.
Dry and spicy.
Disappears with pleasant acidity and hints of bananas and bitter chocolate. Memories of sherry wine.

Overall: Very easy to drink despite its nama genshu nature.
A sake devised to stand up and accompany/complement food.
Reveals new facets late regardless whether it is drunk on its own or with food.

Nagai Ki No Hashi, Junmai ginjo

This particular bottle was graciously offered to us on October 8th during our visit to Oomuraya Brewery in Shimada City. I wonder if Tim, Melinda and Etsuko have already tasted it!
This semi-private label commemorates the longest remaining all wood bridge in Japan which spans across the Oi River in the Western part of Shizuoka Prefecture.

Oomuraya Brewery: Nagai Ki No Hashi, Junmai ginjo

Rice milled down to 55%
Shizuoka Yeast
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in September 2008
Recommended to be drunk from chilled to lightly warmed (« nurukan »)

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity: bananas, vanilla, macadamia nuts
Body: Velvety
Taste: Good attack. Short tail. Junmai tingle. Bananas.
Warms top of the palate. Ends up with a little acidity accompanied by macadamia nuts, especially with food.

Overall: A sake which can be enjoyed in various manners from chilled to lukewarm, with or without food.
Combines dry acidity with a fruity attack.
Clean and light, very easy to drink.

It’s been quite some time since I tasted a sake from Oomuraya Brewery In Shimada City.
This particular one should please Timothy as he serves Wakatake Sake at his sake tasting classes in New York!

Oomuraya Brewery: Wakatake-Oni Koroshi (« Kill the Devil/Demon Killer »)
Junmai-genshu (also exists as Honjozo)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku, Oogonbore
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +9
Acidity: 1.3
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Yeast: Shizuoka NEW 5

Bottled in July 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Light golden tinge
Aroma: Fruity. Almonds, banana, pineapple.
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail. Dry. Almonds, pineapple.
Almonds and coffee beans appearing with food.
Junmai tingle getting stronger with food. Also tends to turn very with food with a strong alcohol accent.

Comments: A sake fit for food, especially oily and heavy sauces.
Shows various facets according to type of food.
Strong and aggressive character with a smooth finish

This time of the year witnesses the appearance of a lot of so-called limited brews.
Oomuraya Brewery in Shimada City is particularly active in that area.

Oomuraya Brewery: Fuuka Junmai

Rice: Homare Fuji 100% (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +3
Acidity: 1.4
Amino acids: 1.2
Pasteurized inside the bottle
Limited to 300 bottles
Bottled in June 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Almost transparent
Aroma: Light, dry, fruity. Pineapple, melon
Body: Velvety
Taste: Soft at first, alcohol appearing on back of the palate. Short tail.
Coffee beans, bitter choclate, pineapple, melon.
Elusive, elegant.
Almost no jumai tingle. Almonds appearing later

Overall: a very elusive discreet sake for a junmai.
Very pleasant.
Although it holds itself perfectly with food, it would probably be best appreciated for its own sake (LOL).
Elegant. Pity it is limited to only 300 bottles.
Drier than expected. Call for second sip.
Wakatake Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo

Oomuraya Brewery in Shimada City has a habit of coming up with some colourful and limited brews.
Every year on a determined day they put out a genshu.
This time it was bottled on the 4th of February 2008 as stated on their label.

Oomuraya Brewery: Wakatake Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees
Rice miled down to 55%
Bottled February 4th, 2008

Clarity: Smoky due to the slight amount of white lees, but very clean
Colour: White haze
Aroma: Fruity, bananas, melon
Body: Velvety
Taste: Strong alcohol/nama and junmai tingle. Shortish tail. Bananas, coffee beans, melon.
Bitter chocolate appearing with food.

Overall: A sake for food, especially heavy one.
Drunk really well with gyoza!

Unfortunately it was probably the last time I had tasted that extraordinary sake, this time in the company of the Hamamatsu Geeks on March 21st.
Unfortunately again, it also became a (small) bone of contention between Oomuraya Brewery (Shimada City) and my person: The owner told me it was a futsushu/regular sake when I called him on the phone and that the last batch was used to make umeshu as they apparently could not sell it fast enough… But when I met Mr. Hibino, their vice-Master Brewer, he affirmed that it was a honjozo. I have some (little) doubt about all this because last year they had avered it was offered only in 720ml bottles until I proved them it existed in 1.8l. bottles. Obviously, it is one sake that Mr. Hibino is not in a hurry to talk about, even when I told him that foreigners would love to drink it as a « one shot drink »! Pity…

Oomuraya Brewery, Sake Rock
Futsushu/honjozo genshu
Rice milled down to 70%
Alcohol: 20~21 degrees

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: Sweet and very fruity/bananas

Body: velvety

Taste: Long tail with alcohol tingling back of the palate. Fruity, musky.
Bananas appearing with food. Surprisingly easy to drink in spite of the strong alcohol.

Overall: Australians would call it a « queensland » wine. Women in general seemed to appreciate it and said they could not have imagined the high alcohol contents if I had not told them beforehand. Personally I love it a bit chilled (on a hot evening?). My good friend Matt said he would offer it chilled one-shot style if he were allowed to serve it Down Under!
Problem is that he would have to redesign the label without the fag!

HANYA/Junmai Daiginjo

The Shizuoka Geeks tasted (I would say guzzled down) this extravagant sake (ishobin/1.8 l.) concocted by Oumuraya Brewery in Shimada City as we had a few reasons to celebrate. It is a « limited edition », so I am religiously (I’m an agnostic hedonist) keeping the labels safe.
Its name is « Hanya ». People interested in Japanese culture will be interested, I’m sure!
It is also a « tobinkoi », meaning it was filtered into one of those big glass vats for maturing.

Oomuraya Brewery/Hanya Junmai Daiginjo
Rice: Yamada Nishiki from Hyogo Prefecture
Rice milled down to 50%
Yeast: Shizuoka HD-1
Alcohol: 17~18 degrees (high)

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: fruity and light, almost discreet. Elegant. Pineapple.

Body: velvety

Taste: sweetish at first. Junmai tingle. Fruity: pineapple.
Elegant with short tail. Calling for the next sip. So easy to drink. Coffee beans revealed later. Goes surprisingly well with food, keeping it character all along.

Overall: Definitely a bit too extravagant for our rough lot, but who complains? Some people are going to kill me for coming with so few notes for such a beauty!

What I found extraordinary is that such a high-class sake held its own so well, even as we were eating cheese and real curry cooked by our English Host, Mark (Talk about a rough lot! LOL)

Oikawa no Uta Junmai Ginjo

This was the second bottle tasted by melinda Joe and the Tokyo Geeks in December 2007:

Oikawa no Uta by Oomuraya (Wakatake) Brewery
Junmai Ginjo
Rice: Yamada Nishiki rice
Rice milled down to 60%

Aroma: similarly low, but not as dry
Flavor: a sugary (sugarcane?) start; leads into ricey and lactic flavors (I called this « Rice Krispy Treat »); marshmallowish; toasty; bitter notes emerge toward the back
Finish: slightly acidic, sticky; reminiscent of the finish on a piece of chocolate

This sake seemed more complex and softer. I’d like to try it nurukan.

With the fish, it was bitter, not a good match. It went better with the salty roe, but didn’t finish well. It paired badly with the Chinese bacon, but also went nicely with the lamb. The sweetness seemed to balance the spice in the dish.

Umaikena Daiginjo

« Umaikena » Daiginjo by Oomuraya/Wakatake brewery, Shimada City, was the firts bottle tasted on November 2nd.

Umaikena Daiginjo

Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Rice milled down to 40%
Dryness: 1.4
Acidity: 1.2
Amino acids: 1.0
Shizuoka Yeast
Bottled in October 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent
Aroma: Light, fruity, complex

Body: Velvety

Taste: Complex, buts soft and light. Fruity. Bananas.

Overall: Typical Shizuoka Sake. Elegant. Tends to change with food.
Ladies at the tasting session particularly liked it

Sake Rock


Oomuraya Brewery (Wakatake/Onna Nakase) in Shimada City must have been inspired by their export business to the U.S. whenthey created this remarkable sake!
For all the dubious design, it is a sake worth noticing, both for its concept and type!

Sake Rock
Seishu/futsushu (« normal sake »)
Rice: Goyakumagoku
Milled down to 70% (absolutely extravagant for futsushu!)
Alcohol contents: 21 degrees (yes, you read correctly, 21 degrees proof!)

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light gold

Aroma: Strong/Pear/Banana/Vanilla

Taste: Strong alcohol spreading over palate. Fruits.
Plenty of bananas and pears. More alcohol emerging with some acidity after second sip.

Overall: Very macho sake. Drinks like a cocktail.
Goes very well with food.
Best drunk slightly chilled. Let it warm inside the mouth.

A discovery that Tim and blokes all the world would be particulary interested in!

Oigawa Kahan Kajika

This was the first bottle drunk by the Shizuoka Geeks during their third tasting session.
It is a seasonal brew limited to 300 bottles every Autumn. Incidentally, until last year they did not bother to indicate the pronunciation of the Kanji « Kajika » (Bullhead Fish) in katakana under it. Obviously too many had been asked about this very unusual Kanji…
Oigawa Kahan Kajika by Oomuraya (Wakatake) Brewery (Shimada City)
Tokubetsu Junmai
Rice milled down to 60%
Rice: Homare Fuji + Aichi No Kaori
Dryness: + 0
Acidity: 1.5
Amino acids: 1.4
Yeast: Shizuoka Yeast
Bottled in September 2007

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Light golden tinge

Body: fluid

Taste: Typical « junmai » tinge. Light and fruity. Melon/watermelon

Overall: Easy to drink. Best as aperitif. Goes very well with salads and light flavoured food
Nama Onigoroshi

Back to the 300ml bottles with a « nama Onigoroshi » by Oomuraya/Wakatake Brewery in Shimada City

The only other indication given was the rice being milled at 60% and I definitely think it is a junmai. The bottle was brewed in March 2007.

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light gold tinge

Aroma: Fruity and complex/Litchi/Banana/Peach/Almonds

Body: velvety

Taste: Very close to aroma with a lot of fruit, especially litchi, peach and gardenies.
Getting drier and sharper with next sip revealing its « nama » nature.

Overall: Both pleasant and sharpish. A very « adult » sake to go well with any kind of strong-taste food

Haru No Nama Ippon

My Japanese wife uncharacteristically bought me a bottle of sake! (she drinks wine most of the time…)
It is a bottle brewed by Omuraya/Wakatake Brewery in Shimada City to celebrate the Spring.
It is a « nama » (unpasteurized), tokubetsu no junmai (pure rice sake) brewed on the 9th of January 2007 from ricemilled down to 60%.Since my wife has a good nose and palate, we decided to taste it together before she reverted to her wine…

Name: « Haru No Nama Ippon »

Clarity: extremely clear
Color: almost transparent
Body: Smooth, sirupy

Aroma: quite faint, flowers, clover, yoghurt

Taste: surprisingly strong, considering the flavour.
Vanilla custard, flowers and cherries.
Disappears quickly, but no aftertaste whatsoever.

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