One of Nagano Prefecture's profound breweries, Wakabayashi Jozo is home to 5th Generation Master Brewer Mami Wakabayashi; one of a growing number of female tojis (master brewers) emerging in a male-dominated field.
Founded in 1896, Wakabayashi Brewing has been family-run for over 120 years. Mrs. Wakabayashi is their first female Toji, challenging stereotypes and the status quo to introduce a new phase of sake brewing in America
When you make sake, little things matter a lot: what rice you use, what kind of water, how often and at what stages or micro-stages you adjust the temperature. The influence of the Toji is real. Therefore, having a female perspective is significant.
The name Moon Bloom was inspired by the Tale of the Princess Kaguya, also known as the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. One of Japan’s oldest legends, it is the story of a beautiful woman from the moon who one day visits Earth. It’s a story of beauty, exile, belonging and love.
5th Generation Master Brewer Mami Wakabayashi produces Moon Bloom in Ueda Nagano in small batches, allowing the rice to be naturally cooled. Low-temperature fermentation permits the yeast time to develop complex aromas, ideal for the subtlety required in sake making. Located in a basin surrounded by mountains, it is a scenic area with many hot springs, temples and shrines. Not only does Nagano provide clean water for brewing, it also creates ideal climatic conditions for rice cultivation, which Wakabayashi uses to her advantage. Moon Bloom uses delicate-tasting Miyamanishiki and Hitogokochi rice locally sourced from Nagano Prefecture.
A Well-Balanced Junmai Ginjo Sake
Our inaugural sake, Moon Bloom has been produced only for export to markets outside Japan. The rice is polished down to 59% to produce a clean and balanced Junmai Ginjo sake. Moon Bloom is also a Genshu, which means that it was made without the addition of water during the final step - giving it a richer more rustic flavor. Moon Bloom comes to you much in the state in which it was brewed. Au naturel, if you will.
Just like wine, Sake is generally served room-temperature, warm, hot or chilled. This often depends on the season, the quality, and the drinkers preference. When we made Moon Bloom, we wanted it to be versatile. Citris and plum dominate at colder temperatures, banana is more pronounced when warmed.
If you do warm it up, Toji Mami Wakabayashi suggests gently warmed to 100 degrees, called Nurukan. Its not as hot as Atsukan which can take away some of the richness and flavor. Its not hot, but you can still feel the warmth of the sake.
"The Moon was but a Chin of Gold — A Night or two ago — And now she turns Her perfect Face — upon the World below"
- Emily Dickinson.