At Sunflower, it's fair to say we associate Azuma no Fumoto with divergence from the norm. Their Arabashiri was a crowd favorite this last year, particularly among the local winemaking crowd, and I think their new export, Tenkyu Malolactic "Suiu" will blow some minds as well.
Tenkyu is, on the surface, very true to Yamagata style: fruity, juicy, generous-- but it has crystal-clear, fresh cut green apple notes and yogurt with honey vibes. It reads as sweet-sour but with captivating complexity and a rich, slick mouthfeel. Very unique and only 1 case available in OR.
Malolactic fermentation (conversion) is common practice in winemaking. It happens naturally and has the effect of improving the wine's microbial stability, mouthfeel, and tempering its acidity. While undergoing malolactic fermentation, Lactic acid bacteria convert some of the sharper, green apple-like malic acid to softer lactic acid. About 10 years ago, researchers associated with the National Research Institute of Brewing worked in tandem with breweries in Yamagata prefecture to explore this microbial technique in sake. Yeasts such as #77 (Malosan) produce ~3x the usual acidity and ~65% of it is malic acid. By brewing with malosan and inoculating with bacteria in the right conditions, some of that malic acid is converted to lactic acid and the flavor profile/mouthfeel evolve along with it. As #77 is a relatively weak yeast, some sweetness is left over which lends balance to the high acidity and finish astringency.
- Prefecture: Yamagata
- Grade: Junmai Daiginjo Muroka Nama Genshu
- Rice: Dewasansan (local)
- Polish: 50%
- Starter method: Sokujo
- Yeast: malosan (#77)
- SMV: -17
- ABV: 15%
Azuma no Fumoto Brewery is located at the foot of the sacred Ise Kumano Taisha shrine in the city of Nanyo in Yamagata Prefecture. Since its establishment in 1896, the brewery has produced “sake that satisfies people’s hearts.” Committed to brewing with only locally grown rice and pure water, their goal is to hand down their technology of Ginjo sake making to the next Generation. Okitama Basin has a fabulous view of the Azuma mountain range and a clear atmosphere, severe winter cold, and clean & rich water, making it an excellent place for sake brewing. Azuma no Fumoto Brewery is proud to make sake with only local rice types grown in the verdant fields surrounding the brewery.