Shizuoka Sake Tasting 4/1~9: Kumpai Brewery


Kumpai Brewery: « Abe no Shizuku », Junmai Ginjo Nama

Kumpai Brewery is a minuscule kura run by father and son that nonetheless produces incredibly good sake for such a little volume. Melinda, Etsuko and Tim, who recently visited it will be reminded of a good time she shared together!

Kumpai Brewery: « Abe no Shizuku », Junmai Ginjo Nama
Rice: Yamada Nishiki 11%, Biyama Nishiki 88%
Rice milled down to 50%
Dryness: -2 (very sweet for Shizuoka)
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in January 2009

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Golden tinge
Aroma: Fresh and strong. Sweetish. Fruity: licorice, star anise, oranges
Body: Velvety
Taste: Soft attack backed up by peasant alcohol.
Disappears quickly. Soft junmai tingle. Nama characteristics weaker than expected.
Fruity: Star anis, oranges, gum.
Very pleasant and easy to drink. Feminine.
Coffee beans making a late appearance with second sip.

Overall: Comparatively sweet for a Shizuoka sake, although very light, pleasant and fleeting.
Stands up very well to food.
Could definitely be appreciated chilled as an aperitif. or as a digestif at room temperature onits own.
Great with chocolate or blue cheese!
8) Kunpai Brewery: « kumpai Tenka no Senshu », Daiginjyou, Tobin Kakoi

Kumpai Brewery, a minuscule Kura in Shizuoka City, has recently drawn attention when it won a first prize in Nagoya last year. It is steadily coming up with more, if in small quantities, very select brews such as this one, which is a « Toubin kakoi/斗瓶囲い”, which was conceived for those very special tasting sessions.

Kunpai Brewery: « kunpai Tenka no Senshu », Daiginjyou, Tobin Kakoi, Unfiltered, Unpasteurized, Genshu

Rice: Yamada Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 40%
Dryness: +2.5
Acidity: 1.4
Alcohol: 18 degrees
Bottled in April 2008

Clarity: Very clear
Colour: Transparent
Aroma: Fruity: melon. Hints of alcohol
Body: Velvety
Taste: Shortish tail. Smooth. Complex. Fruity: pineapple, vanilla, jelly gum.
Welcome alcohol. Turns quickly dry inside mouth after sweetish first impression.
Almonds appearing with food.

Overall: For all its concept as a session sake, it is eminently enjoyable with food.
Very complex, it would make for the perfect sake to sample in tasting parties.
Being a bit « macho » at times, heavy food would not adversely affect it.
7) Kumpai Hatsu Shibori/Kura Ichiban no Shinshu/Tokubetsu Honjozo Nama

Kumpai Brewery in Shizuoka City is in full swing again and produced their first shinshu/new sake in a jiffy! I grabbed one as soon as I saw it!

Kumpai Hatsu Shibori/Kura Ichiban no Shinshu/Tokubetsu Honjozo Nama
First Press/First Brewery New sake/Tokubetsu Honjozo Unpasteurized

Rice milled down to 60%
Dryness: +5.0
Bottled in December 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: light golden tinge

Aroma: light and fruity/pineapple, vanilla, banana

Body: Velvety

Taste: Nama and alcohol tingle. Very fruity: banana/almonds.
Lingers long and soft inmouth with a nice tingle.

Overall: Tasty and heady. The nama tingle is strong, making it a sake suited for food.
Very fruity. Becomes drier inside mouth after a while.
6) Kumpai-Momiji

This is the fourth bottle sampled by the Hamamatsu Geeks on September 14th:

Kumpai Momiji Junamai Ginjo Hiyaoroshi by Kumpai Brewery (Shizuoka City)

Rice: Biyama Nishiki 100%
Rice milled down to 50%
Dryness: +2
Bottled in September 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: almost transparent

Aroma: ricey, flowers

Body: Fluid, light

Taste: Simple/ricey/fruits.

Overall: Great for beginners. Very easy to drink. Simple and refreshing approach. Can be drunk at all times of the day and night. Probably best on its own.
5) Kumpai-Reisenkashu

Reisenkashu is actually the basic sake used to create « Tenryuu no Taki » introduced in a former posting.

It is a Nama (unpasteurized) Genshu (Base sake) Junmai brewed in June 2007.
Rice: 100% Biyama Nishida milled down to 55%
Dryness: +1

Clarity: Very clear

Colour: tinge of gold

Aroma: ricey/strong

Body: Velvety

Taste: Bitter chocolate/Almomnds/Orange. Soft on the palate wit a welcome tingle

Overall: A sake very well suited for heavy food

4) Kumpai-Meguriai

This particular bottle is quite different from the other brews I introduced from that Brewery in Shizuoka City as it a very dry tokubetsu honjyozo!

Kumpai Brewery, Meguriai Tokubetsu Honjyozo

Rice: 100% Miyamanishiki milled down to 55% (extravagant!)
Dryness: ;6.5 (high for Shizuoka)
Brewed in may 2007

Clarity: very clear

Colour: Taransparent

Body: light

Aroma: discreet, ricey

Taste: very dry, ricey, a little syrupy on the palate ending with a marked acidity

Overall: Easy to drink, very dry, would go well with chocolate/cold meats

3) Kumpai-Tenryou No Taki

Kumpai Brewery is decidedly coming up (I have one more bottle to taste…) with more and more remarkable brews in recent years. I suspect the son’s enthusiasm here.

Tenryou No Taki is a Muroka (unfiltered) Junami
100% Biyama Nishiki rice milled down to 55%
Dryness: +1 (very sweet for Shizuoka)
This particular bottle was brewed in February 2007

2) Kumpai-Tsubaki

This is the second Kumpai Brewery bottle I tasted this year. Incidentally Kumpai Brewery, Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, received an award recently in Nagoya.

Kumpai-Sakur is a Daiginjo, made from Yamada Nishiki Rice milled down to 40% in March 2007.
Dryness: +4~5

Aroma: Flowers/Gardenia

Colour: Clear, Transparent

Clarity: Perfectly clear

Body: Light & syrupy

Taste: Flowers/Melon.
Almost at first but quickly becomes drier in the palate.
A sake that could well replce a full-bodied white wine in any meal


1) Kumpai-Sakura

Yesterday, while I was fuming about some intruders, I managed to get those two limited editions (only 300 bottles of each) fromKumpai Brewery and took on the positive action to open the first one and forget all the little stories.
This edition, « Sakura », is a « shinshu » (new sake), « nama » (unpasteurized), junmai ginjo.
Brewed in march 2007
100% Biyama Rice
Rice milled down to 55%

Color: Completely clear with a touch of amber
Clarity: Perfectly clear
Aroma: Fruity
Texture: very smooth
Body: Smooth and easy to drink, with a touch of petillant lingering
Flavor: Plum/Apricot and Cherries. Develops into a faint dried nuts later

Perfectly accompanied my wife’s « kani to na no hana » ( crab and rape blossoms) salad.
At around 2,600 yen, a little pricey but deserves it!

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