Soukuu Jukusei Junmai
Photo: Sōkū Jukusei Nama Junmai. Sōkū means “blue sky.”

Soukuu Jukusei Junmai
Photo: Neck label, nama junmai jukusei shu, “unpasteurized, pure rice, matured sake.” Notice the cork.

This sake is nama (unpasteurized), muroka (not charcoal filtered), and jukusei (matured). During John Gauntner’s sake course we visited Fujioka Shuzo, the brewery that creates this delightful elixir, so I happen to know Fujioka-san aged the sake for two years in a tank before bottling it, still nama! It’s made from Yamada Nishiki rice, the alcohol content is 17%, and the seimaibuai is 65 (he milled away 35% of the rice).

Day 4, Fujioka-san
Photo: Fujioka-san explaining his brewing process.

Fujioka-san brews 60-70 koku (about 10,800-12,600 liters) each year, and he does it himself (with the help of a few part-time workers) in four somewhat small tanks. He produces only junmai, junmai ginjo, and junmai daiginjo sakes, but varies the rice, aging, and pasteurization to create a range of products. He searched in Europe and found unique 500 ml clear glass bottles (see photos) and seals the bottles with a lined cork. He means to attract the young and hip with these bottles, and said that the 500 ml bottle was just the perfect size for “a man and a woman to share a drink.”

Day 4, Fujioka Shuzo
Photo: The tasting room at Fujioka Shuzo.

When we visited the brewery we tasted the Sōkū Junmai Daiginjo (I wrote: “nose: yeast and scent of roses, tastes tart and fresh, silky smooth, sweet finish”), the Junmai ginjo (“sweet, clean nose, voluptuous, medium body, a bit like tasting a candy necklace”) and this lovely aged nama junmai (“hint of chocolate in the nose, with a tease of vanilla, huge umami, great mouth feel”).

Soukuu Jukusei Junmai
Photo: Tasting at home with Riedel stemless, white wine glasses.

The other night we tasted it at home in some Riedel glasses we happen to have that are very close in shape to the Riedel daiginjo glasses. We also tried it in some traditional ochokko, which I think worked better. The nose is so big that the Riedel glasses give you too much alcohol upfront. We also enjoyed how it developed warming up from fridge-cold to close to room temperature. The sake had the same smooth, clean, and rich mouth feel that I remembered. Again, I was amazed by the chocolate nose, just a hint of it—the olfactory experience of chocolate, but not the taste. Absolutely delicious.

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