Kōchi Prefecture, kochi prefecture Japan

Sakes have been made by family-owned Tosa brewery since 1877. It is currently run by Muneki Matsumoto (of the sixth generation) who still uses the original brewery 140 years later. It is situated in the beautiful mountainous region called Tosa Reihoku in the Kochi prefecture. The name of their range, ‘Keigetsu’, is a Japanese term which describes the beautiful evening scene created when the moon hangs over Katsurahama shore.

Keigetsu sakes are made from organically-grown local rice varieties: Hinohikari and Gin no Yume. Hinohikari is a table rice variety that was traditionally used to brew sake before popular sake specific rice varieties such as Yamadanishiki were developed. Gin no Yume is a sake specific rice that is a crossing of Hinohikari and Yamadanishiki developed for the Kochi prefecture. Mr. Matsumoto believes that his local rice, grown within two kilometres of the brewery, is best suited to Tosa because they grow well on their terraced rice paddies at 300 - 600 metres above sea level with high diurnal temperature swings. In addition to rice, they also produce a Yuzu sake from organic Yuzu fruit grown by Mr. Matsumoto’s relatives. The Kochi prefecture produces around half of Japan’s Yuzu because it is prized for its water and cool climate.

The ‘Aikawahomare’ Tokubetsu Junmai is made from Hinohikari rice from the Aikawa region polished to 60%. The nose leads with honeydew melon and sweet chestnut paste. The palate is round and silky with yellow peach on the finish, and is true to its ‘tokubetsu’ (‘special’) designation. The Junmai Daiginjo is made from Gin no Yume rice with a 45% polish. It has delicate aromas of lychee and rose. It is dry on the palate and has great purity on the finish. The ‘Nature’ is made from Yamada Nishiki rice, which is polished to 45%. It is made using the oldest sake starter method called Kimoto and has an elegant, pure nose of expressive stone fruit and white blossom with a very well-balanced palate and a long finish.

The ‘John’ sparkling sake was made for Mr. Matsumoto’s good friend John. It is made with Gin no Yume rice as a Junmai Daiginjo (50% polish) before it is made sparkling with CO2. The sake is crystal clear with aromas of peach and cherry blossom on the nose propped up by lively bubbles and a bone dry finish on the palate. It won the Sparkling Sake Trophy at the International Wine Challenge competition in 2016. The Yuzu sake is bursting with Yuzu citrus fruit (an intense mix of lemon, tangerine and lime aromas with a fragrant lift) and is sweet with 8% ABV. It is made as a Junmai and then blended with Yuzu juice, honey and sugar. It is best served chilled like all the Keigetsu sakes.


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