The "Mizumoto" manufacturing method of the Muromachi period has been revived in modern times! A “new” sake with a unique taste
Do you know the word "water moto"? It is a method of making yeast starter developed in the Muromachi period, but it is rarely seen in modern times. However, it is a hidden gem with many sake fans who like its unique taste.
It is an interesting sake that allows you to feel the breadth of the taste of sake , and it is a perfect sake for those who have become accustomed to sake to take on new challenges.
This time, I would like to introduce the specific manufacturing method and taste characteristics of "Mizumoto".
■ Acid is essential for sake brewing
There is a process called shubo-zukuri, which is the most important process in sake brewing. Shubo is made by adding koji, yeast, and lactic acid bacteria to steamed rice and water.
Yeast is susceptible to germs, and yeast does not grow as expected if germs invade. On the other hand, since it is resistant to acid, adding lactic acid can kill bacteria other than yeast. Lactic acid is indispensable for sake brewing.
■Because the water is different, "Mizumoto"
The shubo manufacturing method used in general sake brewing is ``sokujo''. It is characterized by the addition of industrially produced artificial lactic acid. Since lactic acid can be produced artificially, there is an advantage that the quality is easy to stabilize.
“Mizumoto” is a manufacturing method that existed long before Sokujo was developed, so of course the lactic acid used is natural. A typical shubo made with natural lactic acid bacteria is kimoto. Is it a more familiar word than mizumoto?
So what is the difference between kimoto and mizumoto? Actually, there is a difference in the preparation water. While kimoto uses normal water, mizumoto uses acidic water called "soyashi water", which is made by soaking uncooked and steamed rice for several days and fermenting it with lactic acid. Using this soyashimizu is the biggest feature of Mizumoto.
It becomes delicious just by leaving it alone
In general, if sake is stored for a few years, the taste will change from the original sake quality, and often an off-flavour called hinekaka will appear, so store it in the refrigerator after purchase. It is recommended to drink as soon as possible.
However, Mizumoto-zukuri sake has the characteristic that there are many sakes that are stored at room temperature even after uncorking, and the flavor increases steadily.
It doesn't change immediately, but one of the charms is that you can enjoy drinking little by little while enjoying the change in taste over a long period of time .
WAKAZE's "FONIA TERRA" is also made with Mizumoto. With an alcohol content of 14%, it is an innovative sake that incorporates Japanese citrus fruits and herbs such as yuzu, lemon, Japanese pepper, and ginger into sake brewing .
Rather than just mixing Japanese citrus fruits and herbs, it is a gem that exquisitely combines the taste and aroma of sake derived from rice by “putting it in the fermentation” of sake . It is characterized by a strong flavor made with water moto, and a spiced taste created by adding ginger and Japanese pepper.
I would like to meet a new taste because it is quite an unusual sake! Recommended when.
A yoghurt-like aroma and rich taste
Kimoto-zukuri sake is known for its deep flavor and richness. In addition to that, Mizumoto-zukuri is characterized by a sour aroma like yogurt. There are many sakes that have concentrated sourness and umami, and you can fully enjoy the aftertaste .
People who have only had dry sake may be a little surprised.
Commitment of Miyoshino brewing and "15th century lyricism"
Miyoshino Brewery in Nara Prefecture is one of the sake breweries that specializes in making sake with such mizumoto-zukuri. At a sake brewery located in the deep mountain forest area of Yoshino, we manufacture sake with the policy of "sake brewing that releases acid" .
Yoshino has always been hot and humid, and the culture of fermentation has been rooted in it since ancient times. Because the yeast and koji work so powerfully, even hard rice can be dissolved, making the taste of sake more complex. Mizumoto-zukuri can be said to be a manufacturing method that takes advantage of the goodness of the land.
Mizumoto-zukuri produced by Miyoshino Brewery has "15th Century Lyric" .
The alcohol content is 17 degrees, and you can feel the sour smell like yogurt . When you put it in your mouth, you can feel the faint sweetness and condensed umami, and it has a rich taste that leaves a considerable aftertaste. The fermented sourness of yogurt is impressive, not the sourness of lemon.
The maker of the brewery also recommends room temperature maturation for this product, and by storing it at room temperature even after uncorking, the color will increase, it will become more mellow, and the taste will increase. Mirai Nihonshuten sells sake that has been aged at room temperature for about three years, so the stimulation of alcohol is softened, and you can enjoy the deep flavor that comes from aging from the day you buy it .
It's traditionally paired with cheese, but its rich flavor makes it a perfect companion to spicy dishes. We also recommend pairing it with curry or Thai food. It is a gem that I would like you to drink with a wine glass.
For something that you can easily enjoy at home, I highly recommend the “cream cheese with honey”!
Lactic acid changes into a delicious taste when warmed, so if you drink it warmed up, it should be delicious. It's a good idea to try different ways of drinking and find your own best.
It is also wonderful to drink while imagining that people in the Muromachi period drank this kind of sake.
■ Destined encounters because of manual work
Kimoto-zukuri and mizumoto-zukuri are traditional methods that require time and effort. Because it uses naturally-derived lactic acid and is made by hand, it is difficult to mass-produce it, and it cannot be purchased anytime, anywhere.
However, one of the greatest attractions of kimoto and mizumoto is the powerful taste and richness that can be enjoyed only because of the naturally derived lactic acid and hand-made shubo.
That's why, when you come across one in a store or online, I hope you muster up the courage and give it a try!
(Text / Miyu Hayashi)