Psychedelic notes of juicy, melty persimmon, apricot, and melon, fresh ricotta cheese, nattou, bright daikon radish and grapefruit, and a lovely, rich body that adores parmesan and bitter green vegetables.
The name "Mizumoto" refers to the pre-modern brewing method (invented ~1000 years ago by Buddhist brewing monks) which begins with a naturally sour water from raw rice, water, and lactic acid bacteria in the air. This method is particularly well suited to the damp, humid conditions in Nara, where the method originated.
This is not as "woah! crazy!" as Daigo no Shizuku, not as crazy-cheesecake-from-outer-space as Regal Hawk, but it is profoundly drinkable and well balanced. In fact, Hanatomoe Mizumoto is a regular in my home fridge. It is truly uncanny how well it pairs with equally strong flavors. BBQ? Italian? Mexican? Grilled cheese? Got you. A natural sake for everyday.
- Brewery: Miyoshino Shuzo
- Prefecture: Nara, Yoshino forest
- Rice: Local blend (varies based on condition, intuition, etc. A blend typically dominated by Gin-no-Sato, easy to grow in humid conditions and less susceptible to collapse.)
- Polishing: 70% (+/-)
- Water: medium soft
- Fermentation vessel: varies depending on atmospheric conditions, but neutral sugi kioke is typical.
- Starter: Mizumoto
- Yeast: Ambient (by Hashimoto-san's description, he cultivates each batch for very strong, "bomb-proof" yeast)
- Koji: so-so-so-haze (very robust, advanced koji growth)
- Pressing: yabuta
- ABV: 17%
No one is doing things like Hashimoto-san. No one.
Not for 100+ years, has anyone so intuitively channeled the unique circumstances of their hyper-local environment and created such particular methodologies to work within them.
Hashimoto-san is deferential and respectful to the precise, modern methods of sake brewing that produce clean, delicate flavors. But he makes it clear that this cannot be done in his home region of Yoshino without neutralizing terroir: this is not the style of sake “that can only be made in Yoshino.” It’s too damp, too humid– the aroma of local sugi wood too powerful, and the ambient microorganisms too robust– to wrangle mother nature, to squeeze her into a textbook daiginjo box. Hashimoto-san needs to be fluid, adapting to the circumstances of the moment (hard rice in a hot year, availability of particular fermentation vats mid-season) to make a thousand decisions a minute, for sake that will last a lifetime.
The foundation of the Hanatomoe method is in intuition, tradition, climate and community, rather than technology. Hashimoto-san is a druid: a leader in the modern sake movement via pre-modern technique.
The sake that can only be made in Yoshino is the sake that Hashimoto-san brews. Hanatomoe can only be brewed in one place in the world, and is the strongest case for sake terroir that I have personally encountered.
(note: Photo may not reflect the current vintage. As of this writing, we are selling the 12/21 bottling.)