Shioya-Gun, Tochigi Prefecture – Brewer: Shigeki Matsui – Founded 1865
This brewery is tucked away in the Black Mountains where there is an abundance of clean soft water. The very first owner of this brewery was Master Brewer Shioya-Gun for which the town is named. This master brewer, who learned how to make sake in Niigata, was determined to find the best water for brewing sake in all of Japan. This quest led him away from the Niigata Prefecture to his final destination in the Black Mountains and the subsequent founding of Matsui Shuzo.
The importance of the mountain water used to brew these sake is evident by the clean soft, mouthfeel. The sake range from light and airy to earthy and round, all meant to be enjoyed with food.
Considered a small brewery hidden in the hills, surrounded by forests of pine trees, it is not widely known. Once it is discovered by sake drinkers, it is a taste you will never forget. Matsuno Kotobuki has a hidden meaning behind its Japanese context “for best happiness”. The passion of this brewery is to make people happy and for that concept to shine through in every bottle they produce.
Matsuno Kotobuki Ginjo Gohyakumangoku
This beautifully balanced, honjozo style sake is clean and refreshing with a nose reminiscent of pine needles, lychee, wintergreen and dried pear. Slightly off dry on the palate and full of eucalyptus, cucumber and mineral notes, the added alcohol makes for a clean dry finish.
Matsuno Kotobuki Tochigi 14 Junmai
Slightly brassy in color, this sake has a unique, wonderful nose of cooked banana, apple and fresh cooked peas. The locally used Tochigi 14 rice gives this rich, dry sake a plum, cucumber and blood orange element and an intriguing hint of bubble gum.
Matsuno Kotobuki Honjozo Otoko No Yujyo
This fresh, subtle honjozo has a lovely nose of cantaloupe, leek, fresh clay and pear. With just a hint of sweetness, the palate is lighter bodied with alluring flavors of burnt caramel, chalk and marshmallow and the classic honjozo influenced clean, dry finish.
Matsuno Kotobuki ginjo namachozo
Complex from the start, this sake has a softer nose of honeydew, peach, fennel and rose water. The Yamadanishiki rice provides the supple round mouthfeel, great depth and a wonderful texture with notes of watermelon rind, lemon and melon, balanced by lively acidity.