May 6, 2011

Sake Journey - Shichihonyari, Tomita Brewery / 七本槍 冨田酒造


To Tomita Brewery, of Shichihonyari sake in Kinomoto city, Shiga prefecture.
I have been wishing to visit this brewery for long,
since they create the sake that hits the perfect strike zones of my matured Junmai craze.
Someone told me that Kitanooji Rosanjin, a famous calligrapher, potter and gourmet loved this sake.

滋賀の木ノ本、七本槍(しちほんやり)を醸す冨田酒造へ伺いました。
完熟純米酒好きの私にとってはどストライクなお酒ばかりで、
ずっと行ってみたい蔵元のひとつでした。
なんでも、あの北大路魯山人にも愛された蔵元だとか。




15th generation Mr. Yasunobu Tomita is the introducer today. 
This is his 10th year at the brewery since he returned from Tokyo in age 27.
He produces sake there with 3 other young brewers.

案内人は、15代目冨田泰伸さん。
27歳で東京から実家に戻り、今年で10年目になります。
他3人の若い蔵人さんと共に、この蔵を切り盛りされています。


The water pumped from 18 meters below underground creates the Shichihonyari sake.
This water is transferred to large tanks a day before, to control the temperature to 10 degrees
-the same temperature with rice.
Melting soft textures followed by minarality-like flavors.
As 80% of Sake content is made by water, water is surely the essential element for sake making.

地下18メートルから汲み上げられた井戸水が、七本槍を作っています。
この水は前日に大きなタンクに移され、
米の品温と同じ10度に調整されて洗米や仕込みに使われます。
口の中で溶ける様な柔らかさと、後に残るミネラル感に似た味わい。
日本酒の80%は水でできてるのだから、美味しい水は酒造りに不可欠なもの。




Their production is less than 500 seki (means 50,000 of 1800ml bottles) per year.
yet the customer demands have been growing every year.
so they are planning to extend the building by using the old storage spaces.
i am sure it will become even more superb. exciting.

年間製造量500石(一升瓶5万本)にも満たない小さな蔵は、
今や全国から引く手あまたの人気蔵。
これから古い倉庫を改装して、増築する計画も立てているんだそう。
きっとさらにパワフルな蔵になるんだろうな。楽しみです。


This is trendy jet bubble rice washing machine, Woodson
the owner of the company is named Ki(wood in English) mura(Son in Japanese).

今流行りの、ジェット気泡で洗う洗米機、木村社長のウッド(木)ソン(村)
村は英語じゃないのね。



There were signatures of people visited the brewery on its tank.
i saw many names I knew.

これまで訪れられた方々のサインが仕込みタンクに。
知っている方々の名前もちらほら。


I'd found Tomo san & his wife Kelli san's singniture!
he is Taipei Sake Boy now.

今は台北サケボーイの、先輩ソムリエともさんと奥様のサイン、見っけ!



Let's taste!
I got to enjoy great world of Shichihonyari by trying 7 different kinds of his sake.
from the left in picture:

1) Organic Okome no Yagura, Nama Genshu (2011 Brewed Year, Tamasakae rice, Polish ratio 58%)
2) Tokubetsu Junmai (2010 BY, Tamasakae rice, Polish ratio 60%, Yeast#1701)
3) Junmai (2010 BY, Tamasakae rice, Polish ratio 60%, Yeast#14)
4) Wataribune, Junmai (2010 BY, Wataribune rice, Polish ratio 77%, Yeast#9)
5) 80% Junmai, Nama Genshu (2010 BY, Tamasakae rice, Polish ratio 80%, Yeast#7)
6) Kijoshu, Junmai (3 is used to produce instead of water)

As you'd realized, this brewery produces sake under its strong policies;
"all-Junmailower polish ratio, all by local Shiga rice, 
never blend different type of rice, never carbon-filter".
it sounds very radical knowing that there has long been a highly polished sake trend,
as well as the common beliefs between brewers that "Koji rice has to be Yamadanishiki". 
his philosophy is very challenging, yet seems very natural to me.
my personal favorite out of 7 were 2), 5), and 6).
i thought it is miracle that low polished sake can express such a beautiful clean finish.
though each sake differs in characteristics and matching foods,
they commonly have flavors of lots of nuts, baked apples, 
roasted caramel, mushrooms, and earthy characteristics.
If I draw a person out of Shichihonyari sake,
it would be wandering Samurai who is gentle and loves nature.
it does look like Mr. Tomita, doesn't it?


いざ試飲。
ご好意に甘えてどんどん唎き酒させて頂いたお酒は、全部で7種。
七本槍の世界を充分堪能しました。写真左から:

① 無農薬 お米の家倉 生原酒 (22BY、玉栄、精米歩合58%)
② 特別純米(21BY、玉栄、精米60%、協会1701号酵母)
③ 純米(21BY、玉栄、精米60%、協会14号酵母)
④ 渡船純米(21BY、渡船、精米77%、協会9号酵母)
⑤ 80%純米 生原酒(21BY、玉栄、精米80%、協会7号酵母)
⑥ 貴醸酒 純米(③を仕込みに使用)

お気づきの通り、こちらのほとんどの酒、
純米酒低精白滋賀県産のお米使用麹米と掛米のブレンド禁無濾過
というポリシーの上に造られています。
高精白の綺麗に磨かれたお酒のトレンドや
「麹米は山田錦が良い」という従来の通説を打ち破った、
とっても革新的で、しかしながら非常にしっくり腹に落ちる哲学をもった蔵なのです。
私が特にに感動したのは、②の特純と⑤の精米80%、
⑥の、水の代わりに日本酒で仕込んだ甘口の貴醸酒。
こんなに綺麗なキレのある低精白酒は、奇跡です。

個々に特徴や食べ物の相性は異なりますが、
全てに共通するのはナッツや焼き林檎、焦がしキャラメル、
マッシュルーム、自然や土を感じる深い味わい。
人に例えるなら、自然を愛する、優しい野武士とでも言うのかな。
正に冨田さんのよう。


Sake lee gelato! just started selling several days ago.
how lucky...
I loved its parmesan-like cheesy taste and refreshing vanilla flavor at the beginning, 
then long sweetness of sake lee stayed gently in my mouth.
At this moment this product is only available at the brewery.
Why don't you go visit Kinomoto city just to try this gelato?

2日前に発売されたばかりの、酒粕ジェラート!
なんて運がいいのでしょう。
パルメザンチーズの様なコクと爽やかなバニラの後に、
酒粕の優しい甘みが広がります。
今は七本槍本店のみで販売とのこと。
みなさん、コレを食べに木ノ本へ行ってもいいのでは?


Thank you very very much, Mr. Tomita san!

冨田さん、どうもありがとうございました。

5 comments:

Rar Jungle said...

ah, very interesting and enjoyable review! that master brewer guy looks really cool too! i want to go visit there. how come so many people you know went there? were they sommeliers too?

pimienta ぴみえんた said...

hey rar, welcome to my blog!
yes the master brewer guy Mr. Tomita is super rad and awesome in the way that he lead the younger generations of japan to create new & revolved form of culture.
there are so many people who visit his brewery, they are from all over the place i assume -restaurants, bars, sake stores and just household fun of Shichhonyari, from all over the world.
how are you? i miss hanging out at your owl-whispering tree house in oly...

Shaun said...

Thank you for the awesome review! The brewing process for sake is really interesting, and you've made it uncommonly accessible here. I'm quite envious of you and that gelato! It looks delicious. Also, what camera are you using? I'm really digging those pictures.

pimienta ぴみえんた said...

Hi Shaun, thanks for the warm message...sakekasu jelato is so good! he is trying to distribute it outside of the brewery but i highly recommend to visit there and find yourself smiling with his sake and jelato!
the camera im usuing is Canon Kiss X4 (EOS 550D), and I use the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens. and this lens makes all the picture look so good!

Rar Jungle said...

hi pimienta!

i am doing pretty good. i am living in hawaii, it's pretty nice. so lush. yeah, i miss hanging out at the owl tree house too.