Fukushima, Aizu Wakamatsu – Brewer: Yoshimasa Sakai – Founded 1794
The city of Aizu Wakayama where this sake is produced has very drastic weather patterns, creating distinctive seasonal changes. The harsh weather changes allow the farmers to grow high quality rice. Rice requires heavy rainfall, cool winters and hot humid summers, marked by increased temperature shift from day to night. In winter, consistent snowfall cleans the atmosphere and brings stabilizing low temperatures to furnish a good sake brewing environment. While having very clean well water, they are able to make good sake out of amazing local rice which includes Hattanishiki Rice used for their Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo.
A visit to this brewery is like a trip back in time. They use no modern machines here; all you will see if you visit, is steaming rice in large metal pots, ropes and pulleys, wooden platforms, wheelbarrows….all part of the day to day brewing process at this sakagura. Everything must be done by hand, and so they brew in small batches. This allows this Toji at Tsurunoe to truly let his spirit flow into these sakes. The resulting sake is stylistically light, delicate, pretty and soft. What they promote in their sake is taste that is big and round, that lasts long and slowly, beautifully fades away. This brewery is proud of their local employees that also include many female Japanese workers to help out in the making of the sake.