The Samurai of Noto
The Sogen brewery is located at the northern tip of the Noto peninsula, in the north of Ishikawa Prefecture, on the west coast of Japan. It's an isolated, sparsely populated region, where nature has remained untouched by industrialisation. The climate is pleasant in summer, but becomes harsh in winter when, from December to March, the Siberian anticyclone meets the warm Tsushima current. This brings heavy snowfalls. All the ingredients needed to create a fine terroir for sake. Founded in 1768, Sogen Shuzo is the oldest brewery in the region. It is said to be the birthplace of the Noto Toji guild, one of the four major production streams. The result is sakes with a rich, dense style and straightforward flavours.
Sake is produced on site by Yukio Sakaguchi, a leading figure in the world of toji. He is recognised throughout the country as a "master of sake". His personality, his expertise and the many awards he has received over the years have made him a well-known figure in the region. He continues to keep Noto Ryu alive with great energy, not only for young Tojis, but also by adding his own variations of style on a daily basis.
The Samurai Sake series, a tribute to Munemoto Hatakeyama
The story goes back to 1577, a time when clan wars also affected this remote region of the Noto Peninsula. It was in 1577 that Nanao Castle, then owned by Yoshiharu Hatakeyama, was taken in battle by Kenshin Uesugi, a famous Daimyo from the neighbouring town. But one of the members of the Hatakeyama family managed to escape, alone, with his sword. It was the young Munemoto. Not only did he change his name from Munemoto to "Sogen" (note that it was the pronunciation that was changed, as the Kanji is the same), but he also decided to devote his life to farming. The sustenance provided by farming enabled peace to settle in the locality for a long time to come, and it is on the precise site of his farm that the Sogen Shuzo brewery has been located since 1768. What could be more fitting than to pay tribute to her today by dedicating this series of sakes to her.
Kenzan - Le Futsuushu
72cl – alc. 15% vol.
"Kenzan" is the name given to the tip of the samurai's spear, the stylised trident visible on the label. It is the brewery's spearhead. A table sake made with the greatest care from 65% polished Gohyakumangoku rice. An affordable, high-quality sake. Kenzan is a thirst-quenching sake par excellence, with an expressive nose, lactic and fruity notes. The palate is round, clean and smooth. It develops spicy notes with a pleasant bitterness on the finish.
Sword of Samouraï - Le Junmaï
72cl – alc. 15% vol.
In the pure style of sakes from the Noto Toji guild, Sword of Samurai is an ultra-careful, rich and well-structured junmai. On the nose, there are fruity aromas of banana and pear, as well as cereal and lactic notes. The fruit is repeated on the palate, accompanied by good acidity and a really rich umami. While dense and powerful, it is structured, limpid and lively. The finish is long and fresh.
Samouraï Princess - Le Junmaï Ginjo
72cl – alc. 16% vol.
A Junmaï Ginjo sake made from the best quality Yamadanishiki from Hyogo with a "special A" grade. The Kojimai is 50% polished and the Kakemai 55%. In other words, a well-crafted Ginjo! The nose is fresh and delicately fruity, without excess, with hints of melon and green apple. It's fine and heralds a beautifully structured sake. The fruit lingers on the palate with equal delicacy and fluidity, like a caress. The finish is long, clear, precise and very fresh.
Samouraï King- Le Junmaï Daïginjo
72cl – alc. 17% vol.
Sogen has produced a sake of the highest quality. The best Yamadanishiki rice from Hyogo prefecture is used, combined with Okunoto water and the utmost technical care. The nose is lively and delicately fragrant, with notes of pear and white-fleshed fruit such as peach and melon. Subtle on the palate, the fruity aromas express themselves generously before evolving towards warmer, full-bodied notes. Multiple balances add to the complexity. The finish lingers with a hint of bitterness, leaving the palate pleasantly perfumed.