Yucho Brewery, the makers of Kaze No Mori brand sake, was established in 1719 by the Chobei family, which had been in the rape seed oil business since the beginning of the Edo Period (1603-1868). The brewery name “Yucho” was formed by combining the character meaning “oil” with the first character of the family name. The brewery has continued to produce sake in the Gose area of Nara Prefecture to this day. If the brewery’s 300 years of experience has taught it anything, it is that the only brewing tradition that succeeds is one that can adapt to changing tastes. That is the thinking that drives the current generation of the brewing family to make history with new sake styles for the modern world.
In the 1990’s, Yucho reached its peak annual production capacity of 1.8 million liters. However, sake produced in such large volumes takes many months to reach the market, and by then it has lost the vibrant freshness of its youth. The 12th generation president, Yamamoto Chobei, recognized how much better young, just-filtered sake was, and decided to develop not only a new “fresh” sake product line, but a new refrigerated distribution system to deliver it to local customers. For the sake, he contracted directly with rice farmers in the Kaze No Mori district to grow the local sake rice called Akitsuho. Since everything in this sake, from the rice to the water to the people, was local, he decided to adopt the rice district name for his new sake brand: Kaze No Mori.
Yucho is located at the southern edge of the Nara basin. The region is blessed with a rich natural environment and is recognized to be the birthplace of sake making. The “Nara Sake” style that had developed at the area’s Buddhist temples from antiquity came into its golden age during the Warring States Period (1467-1603). Historical records indicate that Oda Nobunaga, one of the period’s most powerful warlords, showered praise on the high quality of Nara Sake. Central to the Nara Sake style was the Bodaimoto yeast starter method, developed at the Bodaisan Shoryakuji Temple, which made sake brewing safer and more consistent. It is said that Nara Sake methods like Bodaimoto are the foundation of modern sake brewing.
Yucho remains very much a local Nara sake maker. Seventy-five percent of our rice comes from Nara, and all of that is Akitsuho rice grown under direct contract with the farmers specifically for our Kaze No Mori products. The seed rice fields are in the brand’s namesake district Kaze No Mori, and all of our rice is the product of that seed.
We aim for the kind of cutting-edge sake that can only be made with today’s new techniques. By adopting new technology and approaches as soon as they are proven, we intend to keep opening new doors for sake in the future.
Our brewing water flows from deep beneath the Kongo Katsuragi mountain range to an aquifer 100m below our brewery. This groundwater is known for its abundant mineral content, which at 200mg/L is one of the hardest mineral waters in Japan. This rich mineral water imparts a special character to all of our products.
All of our products, from standard junmai sakes up to super-premium daiginjo sakes, are fermented over a long period at very low temperatures. Our average fermentation time is an exceptionally long 30 days. Long, low-temperature fermentation allows the sake to develop richer flavors and more vibrant aromas. This is so important to us that we even collaborated with a tank maker to develop our own temperature-controlled tanks.
Our Kaze No Mori products receive none of the post-production processing usually applied to sake. They are delivered to the customer in nearly the same fresh and vibrant condition as when they were first filtered, with no extra fine-filtering, no dilution with water, and no pasteurization. All Kaze No Mori sakes are fermented with the same yeast variety, brewing association yeast number seven, so that the customer can more easily understand and enjoy the differences that come from different rice varieties and polishing rates. This is also why all our sakes are made from the same brewing water with the same low-temperature, long-term fermentation method.
Having a well-made drink with a meal has been part of the human food culture for thousands of years, because it makes the dining experience richer and more enjoyable. This is the essential value of Kaze No Mori sake.
Delight for the five senses
Pour our sake into a glass and hear its bright gurgling. Enjoy the subtle lemon yellow glow in the transparent liquid. Watch the sparkle of tiny bubbles of CO2 left over from fermentation. Bring the glass close and enjoy the fruit aroma. Take a sip and feel the fresh vapors rise in your nose as the flavor fills your mouth. Swallow, and as the liquid drains away enjoy the clean feeling of a lingering acidity. Sipping Kaze No Mori engages all five senses in a single, delightful experience.
Celebration of differences
We make Kaze No Mori products with a wide range of polishing rates, because the amount the rice is polished strongly influences the character of the sake. As more of the outer layers of the rice are polished away, the sake flavor becomes milder, rounder, lighter and cleaner. If the rice is polished less, the sake has a stronger, more distinct flavor, often with higher acidity, more astringency, and greater complexity. Creating such different styles of Kaze No Mori expands the possibilities for food matching and makes the sake experience even more enjoyable.