Direction Hiroshima, and more precisely on the small island of Kurahashi to discover the sake brewery of Enoki Shuzo. It is between Honshu and Shikoku, in the heart of Setonakai, this magnificent region nicknamed the "Japanese Mediterranean", that it is located.
Since 1899, the family brewery has been producing remarkable and original sake with a small staff of only three people: Mr. Toshihiro Enoki, the Kuramoto (owner, left in the photo), the Toji Mr. Tadashi Fujita (in charge of production, center) and the Kurabito, Mr. Tomoya Umakoshi (helper, right). Missing from the portrait is Mrs. Mariko Enoki, Toshihiro Enoki's sister, whom some of you may have had the opportunity to meet in her elegant kimono at the sake fair or at events related to the promotion of Hiroshima sake.
The Hiroshima region enjoys a temperate climate and has a very low mineral content spring water, a so-called "nansui" water that is difficult to use for sake production. This water constraint has had a double consequence. The first is that it has led breweries to innovate and constantly improve their production methods. In fact, Hiroshima is recognized throughout Japan as the region where research associated with sake brewing is most active. The second consequence is the development of a very particular style of sake, sake that is generally supple, light and very silky.
Of course, this inventive spirit can be found in Enoki Shuzo, as illustrated by the fact that it was in this brewery that Kijoshu sake was created. This method was patented by the National Brewing Laboratory in 1974. Toru Enoki's initial idea was to offer a completely new sake, a product that no one would ever have thought of making. Despite the critics of the time, a sake that some people found too sweet, too colorful, Kijoshu has established itself over time as a remarkable originality of which Enoki Shuzo is very proud today.
Interior of Enoki Shuzo's Japanese sake brewery in Hiroshima
Kijoshu: Kijoshu sake is made when sake is added instead of water in the final stages of fermentation in the vats. It is necessary to have good quality sake to produce good Kijoshu, but also to take care and caution in the process. The result is a sake with a higher than usual residual sugar content, unctuous, with a silky touch and a long, clean finish.
ENOKI SHUZO KIJOSHU
We currently offer 4 sake from the Enoki Shuzo brewery, two Kijoshu, including one Koshu and one Nigori, and two Kimoto. It is the Kijoshu that we are interested in here.
Hanahato Kijoshu 8 years old
50cl - alc 16% vol - 45€.
Its deep amber color, with ochre tones and orange reflections, is astonishing at first. Normal, it is a koshu sake, aged for 8 years at room temperature. It is matured in stainless steel tanks, in other words in a neutral environment, because the objective is to take advantage of the evolution by slow and natural oxidation.
Hanahato Kijoshu presents a complex and deep nose with notes of cocoa, raisins, nuts and port. It is rich and supple on the palate, very elegant with a long, clean and fresh finish. A very nice sake for tasting, superb to associate with cheese or chocolate desserts.
Kiyomori Heian Nigori
50cl - alc 16% vol - 32€.
With a very dense and creamy appearance, this nigorizake, also Kijoshu, is unique. One can imagine a sake that is too rich, perhaps heavy to consume. But it is not! Kiyomori Heian Nigori is extraordinarily lively and fresh in the mouth, unctuous, it remains light, with fruity notes of banana and citrus fruits. Its marked acidity provides a very good balance.
Despite its density, Kiyomori Heian Nigori is easy to associate. With shells for example, scallops, grilled fish or fresh cheeses. It works beautifully with fruit desserts.
The little story
Kiyomori, whose full name is Taira no Kiyomori, is a samurai of the late Heian period (1167-1165) who is the origin of a well-known legend in Japan. Kiyomori became famous for his very lucrative business activities between Kyoto and Kyushu. Used to sail between these two islands, he is at the origin of a titanic shipyard, a dredged channel between the two islands to shorten the journey and allow large ships to pass. Legend says that in order to work harder and reach his goal, he was able to lengthen the length of the days by waving a golden fan to prevent the sun from setting.