Rumiko Moriki is a 5th-generation sake-brewing scion. Hideki is her microbiologist husband. They’ve been brewing side-by-side for three decades and they’re producing some of the most innovative sakes, pushing the frontiers of what you can do with rice, yeast and koji.
Consider the sake they make using rice that’s had just 10% milled away. They were growing organic Yamada Nishiki, using only sake lees as fertiliser. They wanted to use as much of the grain as possible, but end up with something sophisticated. It took many years of experimentation, playing with times and temperatures, before they hit on steeping the rice for longer than usual. Most rice used in brewing is steeped for somewhere between a minute and 12 hours, depending on the milling ratio. The Morikis push it to 48 hours for this brew.At a time when the fashion is to grind away as much of the rice as possible, it takes an iconoclast to spend years trying to make the opposite style.
This was one of the first breweries in the country to switch to making only junmai sakes, and they now make all their yamahai and kimoto sakes with indigenous yeasts.
The omachi strain of sake rice is notoriously hard to grow. The long stalks are susceptible to the elements and hard to harvest in any efficient manner. The payoff, though, can be big, strapping sakes loaded with nutty, earthy and herbal notes — like this one.
Junmai muroka nama genshu yamahai
Milled to: 60%
Taenohana Challenge 90
The best example of the idea that if you have good rice, you don’t have to polish it all away. Voluptuous on the palate, with orchard notes and a long, long finish. Serve chilled, with cheese.
Junmai muroka nama genshu kimoto
Rice: Yamada NIshiki
Milled to: 90%