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Kura Selections – Manotsuru by Obata Bewery vol.2

Youji's Sake Notes 2-2

I’ve gotten another type of sake to pair with my food for the second sustainable sushi kaiseki tasting dinner pop up in Town of Scituate, MA. It is ginjo sake that has “nama-chozo” in the process. What is “nama-chozo” and what does it give to sake?

Pasteurization Matters?

Nama-chozo sake has fresh taste, as a nama sake does, because the sake is not pasteurized to store. (nama = fresh, unpasteurized / chozo = store before bottling) Yet, six-month maturation gives complexity in flavor. Then it will be pasteurized in bottles right before shipping, to make the shelf life longer.  Here is the basic about sake pasteurization process,

“Pasteurization is done to deactivate heat-sensitive enzymes and microorganisms left over from the koji and yeast cells, thus ensuring they will not kick in at higher temperatures (room temperature is enough to activate some of these) and send the sake flavors out of kilter. On the other hand, sake that is not pasteurized – namazake – has a much fresher, livelier and zingier touch to the flavor, with usually a much more active aromatic aspect. Although care and refrigeration are needed to keep it fresh, and although the sake overall is much less stable, it often can be worth the hassle and effort.” …..“however, that there are several variations on leaving sake unpasteurized”…. “most sake is pasteurized twice. When the need to differentiate arises, such fully pasteurized sake is referred to as hi-ire, or “put in the fire.” Full-fledged nama-zake, on the other hand, can also be referred to as nama-nama, or hon-nama; these are identical terms that indicate *totally* unpasteurized sake. Again, this would be used most often in comparisons to other types of nama. One such other type would be nama-chozo. Chozo means store, although in this case it really refers to the typically six-month maturation period, and so nama-chozo is sake that has been “chozo-ed” in its unpasteurized form, and pasteurized one time only after maturation (usually a six month period) or just before shipping.”

Then there is the opposite of this, nama-zume. This is sake that has been pasteurized once before storage, but *not* pasteurized before bottling (zume comes from tsumeru, meaning “to bottle.”). When this is traditionally released in the fall, just as the weather begins to cool down, it can also be known as hiya-oroshi. Got all that?” - Special sake | Sake World ( by John Gauntner

“BULZAI” (Non-Junmai) Ginjo Nama-Chozo

Ok, it is a lot of technical info to absorb. To me, complexity that comes from “nama-chozo” maturation is very special, not only I taste freshness but also full tropical fruit flavor and licorice aroma from Gohyakumangoku rice (55% seimaibuai) and K1701 yeast. It has stone-driven mineral notes after three – four seconds for clean dry finish.


Mix herbs and zest with this sake is exceptional, complementing each other well. I will pair with simple nigiri sushi with zest and herbs. The mineral notes go well with oysters that I will serve in the first course.



Bulzai is my best choice, among all Manotsuru available at Mullaney’s Harborside in Scituate, to enjoy full feature from sake. It is amazing for the price.

Would you try it and share your opinion with me? Let’s discuss at “General Discussion” in “Forum” page.



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