Ota shi, Gunma Prefecture – Brewer: Tokutaro Fuse – Founded 1863
Located in the eastern region of the Gunma prefecture, between the Tone and Watarase rivers, this traditional brewery prides itself on producing sake in small batches to maintain taste and quality. Because of the years of traditional sake making that goes into the sake at this brewery, the toji (master brewer) only sources the most experienced kurabito (employees).
In addition to excellent sake making artistry, the most important ingredient that goes into this sake is the water which is from a local well in Akagiyama. The content of this local water is high in minerals that give the Gunma Izumi sakes a round rich mouth feel that pairs well with food. They also age all their sake anywhere from 1 to 3 years which adds depth and color for which this brewery is known. This sakagura (brewery) is famous for their traditional style of brewing called Yamahai, using only the natural yeast that has built up in the brewery over many generations. Part of the brewery was severely damaged by fire at the turn of the century. Because of the importance of the Sakagura to the community, the local townspeople helped to rebuild that which was lost and keep their beloved brewery.
Gunma Izumi Yamahai Junmai
The alluring nose of this sake has apple, melon, rose and mushroom notes that leads to a slightly off dry, very balanced, nuanced palate of mineral and pear. The Yamahai process provides the wild, but natural, with distinct earthy notes, raisin, brown sugar, roasted oats and a long, dry finish.
Gunma Izumi Honjozo
This is a classic, delicious Honjozo with crimini mushroom, almonds and lilac on the nose. The first sip of this sake is full of stone fruit and pure minerality followedby notes of caramel, cocoa and almond and finishes with plenty of umami.
Gunma Izumi Chotoku Junmai
The all-natural brewing process gives this sake a weighty round earthy palate feel, with mushroom, roasted carrot and sweet potato augmented by a refreshing sweet fruit character of peach and papaya. Almost ethereal, this junmai is light but very concentrated and finishes with a dry, mineral laden note. As good hot as it is cold.