More likely to find their sake on a shelf next to a natural wine, their sake is literally off the charts in temrs of flavour profile. If there’s a sake brewer out there that is bucking the trend, Terada Honke brewery would be the first to come to mind. Musubi, their sake made from 100% unpolished rice, is not even classified as a ‘seishu’ (the official temr for japanese sake) since the rice needs to be polished. Do they care, not really!
Terada Honke located in Chiba prefecture, have been brewing sake since 1673 and now 24th generation, Masaru Terada, Kuramoto (owner), is leading the brewery in a new direction. They are purveyors of natural fermentation, leveraging the power of a micro organic approach to be in harmony with nature. Natural fermentation (shizenshikomi or 自然仕込み) is quite rare in the sake world since rice doesn’t ferment as easily as grapes for wine hence the use of cultured yeasts supplied by the Brewing Society of Japan.
All of their sake is Junmai (rice, koji-rice natural yeast and water) made using traditional labour-intensive starter methods; Kimoto and Bodaimoto as oppose to adding lactic acid as in the ‘sokujo method’ 速醸 literally the fast method.
The majority of the rice used in their sake is the local Koshi-Hikari variety commonly a table one which cracks if highly polished but is well suited to sake made with roughly polished rice which Terada Honke excel at.
Terada Honke’s sake
The flagship sake meaning five daughters named after Terada Masaru’s wife who is one of five daughters. This comes in 3 different polishing levels; Junmai Daiginjo (50%), Junmai Ginjo (60%) and Junmai (70%). All 3 are enjoyable at a range of different temperatures even the Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo since they are flavour driven as opposed to aroma-driven at Atsukan (50 degrees), Nurukan (40 degrees), and Hiya 15-20 degrees).
Named after their black labrador walking around the brewery. In recent years what they have become well-known for is this funky Musubi, an unpoished brown rice ‘Genmai’ 玄米 sparkling sake which undergoes an in-bottle secondary fermentation. Serve chilled.
Daigo no Shizuku
A full bodied, pronounced intensity sake with plum, pear, citrus, rice, koji and yeast notes. Pair with desserts and cheeses. Serve chilled.
Katori 80 & Katori 90
Defying the highly rice polished scene again with this pair polished at 80% and 90%. Rice-driven aromas and a savoury palate, this is made with locally grown organic Koshi-Hikari rice. Enjoyable at a range of different temperatures.