Sawaya Matsumoto was established in 1791 in the historic Fushimi ward in Kyoto. Hidehiko Matsumoto, the current Toji is a young visionary with a passion for showing what he can express with the simplicity of ingredients: rice, water and koji.
His philosophy is that the true value of sake is in the rice and where it’s grown, terroir.
In the last 3 years, Hidehiko has taken many trips to rice farms all over Japan as well as his favourite wine regions such as Burgundy and Champagne, visiting domaines and grower Champagne producers. In visiting these places he realized that the ingredients and where they come from are equally important in wine and sake; how, who and where the rice and grapes are grown have a significant impact on the finished product.
Having worked with many rice varieties such as Yamadanishiki, Gokyakumangoku and Omachi from different farmers and terroirs, he has come to the conclusion that this is true for all varieties.
With this understanding in mind, he felt at odds with the fact that sake isn’t yet presented in this way. This led him to start the “Shuhari” 守破離 brand within the Matsumoto lineup.
In 2016, the brand “Shuhari”, which means to protect the past by breaking rules and boundaries, was created to express the terroir and uniqueness of the rice and growers he works with.
The brewery is working with rice farmers in Hyogo’s top Yamadanishiki sites in the Tojo area to learn rice growing and what makes this region special. Each plot and subplot are looked at separately to try to understand each of the unique terroirs and what they offer to the final sake. The ID series is a project that showcases single plot farms within the Tojo region in Okamoto village.
This year’s offerings are ID series 1314, 39-1 and 566 and each of the numbers correspond to the address of each of the rice plots. The labels were designed exclusively for this project by Paris based artist Emilie Sarnel.