Shizuoka Sake Tasting 17/1~10: Sanwa Brewery


10) Sanwa Brewery-Garyubai Junmai Genshu

Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City is one of the oldest still active breweries in Shizuoka Prefecture as it was founded in 1686 in Edo Era. Shimizu and Shizuoka were completely separated then. the Name « Sanwa/三和 » could be literally translated as the « triple harmony » as it is actually the merger of three different breweries when Sanwa acquired neighbouring Koizumike and Shimizu Breweries about 30 years ago.

Sanwa Brewery, whose brewermaster hails from the Nanbu School in Iwate Prefecture, has the particularity of being the only brewery in Shizuoka Prefecture not to use the Shizuoka yeast, but nonetheless has conducted fruitful research in alternative rice strains.

Sanwa Brewery-Garyubai Junmai Genshu:

Rice: Nihonbare 100%
Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu/no pure water added)
Dryness: +2
Acidity: 1.5
Contents: 1.8l
Bottled in March 2010

-Clarity: very clear

-Colour: transparent

-Aroma: Complex. Fruity and flowery. Apricot, bitter chocolate

-Body: Fluid

-Taste: Strong and delicious alcohol attack with junmai petillant back-up warming back of the palate.
Complex. Fruity: Pineapple, apricot, flowers, memories of bitter chocolate and coffee beans.
Lingers for a short while with a sweetish note ending in nuts.
Holds its own well with any food.

My nurukan set!

As « nurukan » (40~45 degrees), comes with dry nuts. Very pleasant with any food.

Overall: A slightly extravagant sake for any food, although one can definitely enjoy it for its own sake (sorry for the pun!)
Could be considered as a « strong » sake in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Definitely the type of sake for a Japanese dining party!

Sanwa Brewery: Garyubai Junmai (Genshu)

It7s been some time I sampled a brew by Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku (formerly shimizu City).
Their brand name, Garyubai, created some four years has stuck for good, and almost all brews bear the name.
The particularity of this brewery is that it is the only one in this Prefecture not using the Shizuoka Yeast!

Sanwa Brewery: Garyubai Junmai (Genshu)

Rice: Nihon Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Acidity: 1.4
Bottled in June 2009

Clarity: very clear
Colour: almost transparent
Aroma: Strong alcohol, fruity: bananas, almonds, a memory of bitter chocolate.
Body: velvety
Taste: Soft on the tongue at first, with a strong alcohol attack at the beack of thepalate.
Finishes on a smooth note. shortish tail. complex.
Fruity: almonds, bananas, coffee beans.
Starts almost sweet to finish on a strong dry note with mandarines, more almonds and bitter chocolate.
« Adapts » itself with food well with more facets appearing.

Overall: A sake which is both strong and complex.
Marries well with food.
Its dry fruity taste might become an acquired taste, though.
Even knowing that this brewery does not use the Shizuoka yeast, it is obviously off the beaten tracks in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Garyuubai Origarami Junmai Ginjo (nigori) Nama Genshu

My good friend Mr. Nagashima of Nagashima Liuor Shop came up with an unusual bottle by Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City.
It bore a very difficult Japanese name to read, « origarami », basically meaning « melting ». The bottle was not on display yet.

Sanwa Brewery: Garyuubai Origarami Junami Ginjo (nigori) Nama Genshu (talk of a long title!)

Rice: Gohyakumangoku (Toyama Prefecture)
Rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: +4
Acidity: 1.4
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees
Bottels in Jabuary 2009

Clarity: Very clear when lees are « down »
Color: Slightly smoky white when shaken. Transparent when lees are « down ».
Aroma: Light an dry. Fruity: pineapple
Body: Velvety
Taste: Strong attack backed up by strong alcohol and a lot of acidity due to white lees.
More complex than expected.
Fruity: pineapple, apples.
Long tail. Almonds, vanilla, star anise and coffee beans appearing later.
Acidity lingers in the back of the mouth for a long time.

Overall: An acquired taste, but more pleasant than expected.
Drinks quickly, so must be better than I first thought!
Garyubai Junmai

Sanwa has received international acclaim since they created the « Garyubai » brew 4 years ago. Thier sake do have to be tasted every year as they are quite original even in this Prefecture.

Sanwa Brewery: Garyubai Junmai
Rice: Gohyakumangoku 90%, Yamada Nishiki 10%.
Rice milled down to 55% (extravagant for junmai)
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (genshu level)
Dryness: + 2
Acidity: 1.5
Bottled in January 2008

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: light and dry. Fruity: pineapple, apricot

Body: velvety

Taste: Short tail. Strong and pleasant alcohol backed by junmai tingle. Dry. Pineapple, apricot, almonds.

Overall: Drinks very well with any food.
Varies little with food, occasionally sweetens and turns milder.
A bit « macho » but very pleasant.
Sanwa Brewery/Garyubai Junmai Ginjo Yamada Nishiki Fukuro Tsuri Kashu Nama Genshu

Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku created their brand Garyubai 4 years and achieved international recognition since then. 90% is junmai and this particular bottle is no exception:

Sanwa Brewery/Garyubai Junmai Ginjo Yamada Nishiki Fukuro Tsuri Kashu Nama Genshu
(Unaltered pure original sake pressed through natural hanging inside a bag)
Rice: Yamada Nishiki (Hyogo Prefecture) 100%
Rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: +3
Acidity: 1.3
Alcohol: 16~17 degrees (normal for « genshu/original sake »)

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: Fruity, licorice, pineapple, pear

Body: velvety

Taste: Light junmai tingle, almost sweet at first. Bananas and pineapple. Short tail.
Gets drier later inside palate. Bitter chocolate faintly appearing later with food.

Overall: A delicate, elegant sake showing many facets along a changing character. Searching for answers.
Pleasant. Drinks easily for a genshu. Clals for next sip.
Would do well as a session sake.
Sanwa Brewery-Garyubai Junmai Ginjo « Fukuro Tsuri Kashu »

We are still tasting new sake (shinshu) and it is only a question to try as many as possible!
Sanwa Brewery (Shimizu Ku) did not disappoint and came up with one in a jiffy!

Sanwa Brewery-Garyubai Junmai Ginjo « Fukuro Tsuri Kashu »
« Fukuro Tsuri Kashu » means that it is original sake collected as it oozes out of the « draining bag »

Rice: Gohyakumangoku (Toyama) 100%
Rice milled down to 55%
Alcohol: 16=17 degrees (genshu)
Dryness: +1
Acidity: 1.5
Bottled in November 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: solid, fruity, pears, vanilla

Body: velvety

Taste: Junmai tingle. Fruity: vanilla/bitter chocolate/pears/persimmons
Stays long in mouth. Pleasant, elegant. Acidity revealed later.
Becomes more complex with next sips. Lingers on pleasantly

Overall: Elegant, deep caharacter, asking many questions. Entices to another cup.
Changes to a very dry sake with food.
4) Garyubai Junmai Ginjo Hiyaoroshi

Hiyaoroshi beingin season, I decided to taste Sanwa Brewery (Shimizu Ku) brand.

Garyubai Junami Ginjo Hiyaoroshi
Rice: Yamada nishiki (Shiga Prefecture) 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Dryness: +1
Acidity: 1.5
Bpttled in October 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: Light, fruity, complex.

Body: velvety

Taste: Complex. Surprisingly dry and slightly acid in spite of numbers advertized. Turns mellow later.
Banana, vanilla, caramel, bitter chocolate, coffee.
Junmai tingle revealed later.

Overall: Easy to drink, but very complex in spite of relative lightness.
Goes very well with food, but ouht to be drunk on its own.
Taste tends to greatly vary with food before comonig back to original impression.

3) Garyubai Junmai Ginjo

Next in the 300 ml bottele series is Garyubai Junmai Ginjo brewed this year by Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City. Please note the label obviously aimed at romantic ladies!

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light gold

Aroma: light/flowers/gardenias/banana

Body: strong and marked

Taste: Tingle spreading through the palate and lingering. with liquorice at first. Becomes more complex with banana, liquorice and then turns fruity/apricot/raisins

Overall: A sake that goes down well with any food. Comparatively strong taste for a Shizuoka sake.


2) Hagoromo No Mai

This is another bottle from the batch of 300ml flasks I mentioned before.

« Hagoromo no Mai » (« wing veil dance » from a famous local legend) is a junmai ginjo brewed by Sanwa Brewery in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City (Garyubai) in May 2007

Interestingly enough the rice has been milled down to only 60%.

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: gold (unusally strong colour)

Aroma: light/flowers/ricey

Body: both light and solid

Taste: Powerful and spreads quickly inside mouth with a welcome tingle
Vanilla/banana/bitter chocolate. Lingers around for a while

Overall: very « adult » impression
Goes well with any food and does actually improves at its contact

1) Housuu

Hoosuu is actually a Garyuubai variety brewed by Sanawa Brewery (Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku) under the name of a private brand.
This Garyubai is made with a very unusual/rare brand of rice called « Tankan Watarifune » which was resurected from a mere 30 g. found by chance!

Garyubai Hoosuu
Nama Junmai Ginjo
Rice: 100% Tankan Watarifune
Rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: +2
Acidity: 1.2
Brewed in February 2007

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: Light gold

Aroma: ricey, light, star anise, bananas

Body: light

Taste: complex, liquorice, banana, gardenia. On second sip reveals some acidity and bitter chocolate which subsequently turn agreeable.

Overall: a light but well-rounded adult sake
Goes very well with any food, particularly oily fried food and meat.

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