Chiyo Shuzo - Shinomine Chokara 2022
Rice Type: Hanafubuki
Classification: Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu
Chiyo Shuzo is run by Tetsuya Sakai. The Shinomine range of sake from Chiyo is named after the Shinomine mountain range not far from the brewery. Sakai-san’s focus with the Shinomine range is to craft balanced and acid-driven sake that showcases the rice type along with the ability to age gracefully.
The Japanese word ‘kara’ means dry and name ‘chokara’ means this sake is extra dry style. Even though this is a dry sake it also has a lovely freshness, making it an incredibly drinkable and very versatile sake. Shinomine Chokara has an aroma of fresh melon and honeysuckle. When opened this sake has a light spritz with a refreshing palate of fresh green herbs and melon and a finish that is long and dry.
Chiyo Shuzo is a very small brewery founded in 1873 which moved to its present location in the southwest part of the Nara basin near the Shinomine mountain range in 1902. Their very small production consists of many, many tiny meigara [brands] which are constantly sought after because of their quality and limited availability.
The current Toji [Master Brewer] Tetsuya Sakai started his career in the wine industry when he worked for Grace Winery for 5 years along with a 3 month winemaking stint in California. After marrying into the family who owned Chiyo Shuzo, Sakai-san’s career path changed to becoming a sake brewer. After 9 years working alongside the previous Toji at Chiyo, Sakai-san eventually took over the role as Toji in 2004 and then in 2007 also became the Kuramoto [Brewery Owner]. In 2000 Sakai-san started creating a range of sake to specifically showcase local regionality. Named after the nearby mountain this range is called Shinomine. Currently Sakai-san manages around 4 hectares of rice paddies where he grows Yamada Nishiki, providing about 10% of their needs each year. The remaining rice is sourced from 26 farmers spread across Nara and nearby regions.