Niichiro Marumoto harvesting rice

Marumoto Brewery: A special CSW saké tasting


This Wednesday (May 15), we will be happy to welcome Niichiro Marumoto to Chambers St. Wines for a special in-store saké tasting from 6 – 8 pm. Marumoto-san represents the sixth generation of brewers at the historic Marumoto Brewery in south-western Japan and has been instrumental in guiding the estate towards organic certification.Our friend Midori from Joto Saké will also be here to help translate and answer questions.

Founded in 1867 in the Okayama prefecture in Japan, the Marumoto brewery has earned the nickname “the Farmer’s Brewery,” because the farmers who grow the rice also brew the saké. Most large-scale saké breweries (and often smaller breweries as well) buy their rice from large farmers or rice brokers, who typically use generous amounts of pesticides and fertilizers to increase yields. The Marumoto brewery is committed to growing their own rice and eliminating the use of chemicals in their fields. They grow 100% Yamada Nishiki rice (considered the best saké rice in Japan), with a focus on lower yields, and a careful cultivation style called “san-ou,” which ensures that nutrients are channeled to the grains, rather than the leaves and stalks. They are also one of the first breweries to pursue organic certification, and are set to convert the entire estate to organic farming in the coming years.

Join us on Wednesday if you’re in the area between 6 – 8 pm, or check out the tasting notes and order some online if you’re interested!

Marumoto Chikurin Karoyaka Junmai Ginjo 720ml

I met Niichiro Marumoto at a sake tasting hosted by Brooklyn Kura in June, and was immediately drawn to what he is doing at Marumoto Shuzo. Unlike about 99.9% of the industry, Niichiro-san farms all the rice that is used in the production of his sake. Since World War II, Japan has had a system where all rice production was controlled and distributed by the government. Only in the last few decades have sake producers been able to buy directly from rice farmers; but the rice market is still dominated by large regional co-ops with immense buying power. When Niichiro-san took over the family business at a young age, he quickly realized that a way for a small company like his to be not only sustainable going forward, but also to guarantee the best quality of raw material for their product was simply to grow everything himself. Thus far he has converted about 10% of his production to organic farming, and has a team at the brewery that does comparative analysis on each rice paddy to see how various agricultural practices have an impact on the finished product. I spent over 45 minutes chatting with Niichiro-san about rice farming, and feel like I left with more questions than I had at the start! This sake is wonderfully complex, effortlessly mixing the more fruit-forward elements of the classic Junmai Ginjo style with a savory undercurrent that resolves into a long and crisp finish. Notes of cucumber peel and melon rind, citrus, yellow flowers, acacia, nettles, and steamed rice dance across the palate, building in depth and intricacy. A sake I want to drink all the time. Oskar Kostecki

  • Junmai Ginjo
  • 9 in stock
  • $39.99

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Marumoto Okayama Chikurin Karoyaka Junmai Ginjo 300ml

The Chikurin brand is the limited release label from the Marumoto Brewery, which was founded in 1867 at the base of the Chikurin-ji Mountains, in Okayama-ken, one of Japan’s most prized agricultural regions. The Marumoto Brewery is set apart from most sake breweries because they own their own fields and grow the rice, which is 100% Yamada Nishiki rice grown organically.

This name “Karoyaka” means lightness in English, and this sake is vibrant and lively and made for pairing with seafood and oysters, yet it still has an amazing amount of depth and body, balanced with freshness and vivacity which is preserved by minimal pasteurization. Should be kept and served cold.

  • Out of Stock
  • Junmai Ginjo
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

Marumoto Brewery NV Okayama-ken Hou Hou Shu 300ml (Sparkling)

From the esteemed Marumoto brewery it took the brewmaster—Niichiro Marumoto—many years to perfect a method to create naturally sparkling sake—the bubbles are caused by a process similar to Champange: the second fermentation occurs naturally and is captured in the bottle. On the palate, there are notes of lychee and tropical fruit, with refreshing acidity and touch of sweetness. This is a sparkling sake that is delicious, refreshing and extremely fun to drink!

Should be kept and served chilled.

  • Out of Stock
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $14.99