Sake is omnipresent in Japanese culture and is regularly portrayed in popular media. Cartoons books are no exception. It is used in manga to plunge the reader into the heart of a traditional atmosphere, but also to bring a touch of humor to the story. Let's look at some examples.
Two super-fresh namazakes that transported us to the heart of the breweries at the time of their tasting. Those of you who had the chance to visit a kura certainly have this fruity and enveloping fragrance engraved forever in the depths of their piriform cortex. This delicate scent can be found with pleasure at home every time a bottle is opened, but nothing is more powerful than a namazake to trigger this reminiscence.
The Maekake is this apron, traditionally made of indigo and thick cotton, that you have undoubtedly already seen in Japan (for the lucky ones) or in an izakaya restaurant but also in a food store. This harmless accessory still carries 500 years of history. Its appearance dates back to the Muromachi period (14-16th century), when it was found in rice, soy sauce or sake shops.
If there's one thing that fascinates all of us sake lovers, it's the extraordinary ability of breweries to constantly innovate. Whether it's through the development of new techniques, the use of new machinery or, on the contrary, the implementation of inspirations from the past, renewal is a vital need for a producer, a positive impetus for sake as a whole.
If some of you think that umeshu is just a nice fruity Japanese plum liqueur, you should know that the nuances are much more interesting than it seems. That's what we want to emphasize in this selection. Whether produced on an alcohol, shochu or sake base, it is a real contest of know-how, a whirlwind of sweetness in which we take you along with five umeshu passed on the bench.
We chose to focus on two new products produced by Nadagiku in Himeiji, Hyogo Prefecture. Their sake Chokarakuchi Junmai and Honjozo Genshu. You may know the brewery through their Daïginjo called "Judo", a sake that we have been offering for some time and which is produced in honor of Mikinosuke Kawaishi, an illustrious family member and judoka emeritus.
Do you know the French sake produced in Pélussin, in the Rhone Valley, the sake of Grégoire Bœuf, les Larmes du Levant? It's time to take a more than attentive look at them. Not only is the quality there, but these products are doing very well, in France and abroad. And who better than Grégoire himself to tell us about it? We asked him a few questions and asked for his tasting advice about the selection on offer today.
If you have in mind to go one day to the Okinawa archipelago, here is an excursion that will please you because not only the place is splendid, but you will discover one of the rare and true rum distilleries of Japan. From the main island of Naha, head northwest to the port terminal where a ferry will take you to Iejima Island in about 30 minutes. Direction Iejima Distillery!
Direction Hiroshima, and more precisely on the small island of Kurahashi to discover the sake brewery of Enoki Shuzo. It is between Honshu and Shikoku, in the heart of Setonakai, this magnificent region nicknamed the "Japanese Mediterranean", that it is located. Since 1899, the family brewery has been producing remarkable sake of originality, and with a small staff of only three people: Mr. Toshihiro Enoki, the Kuramoto ...
Are you familiar with Arita porcelain? Also called "Arita Yaki", it was initially famous under the name of "Imari". A name that comes from the port from which they were shipped to the Old Continent in the holds of Dutch ships, the first Europeans to trade with Japan. But it is in the locality of Arita, Saga prefecture, north of Kyushu, that these jewels were born at the beginning of the 17th century.
Sakemochida Brewery is located in the city of Izumo which is in the northeast of Shimane Prefecture. Bordered by the Sea of Japan to the north, and Shinji Lake to the east, it is famous for the Izumo-Taisha Shinto shrine, the oldest in the country with a creation dating back to the 7th century. You may have heard of the "Kamiarizuki", the "month of the Gods present". It is in the temple of Izumo, in the month of October, that it takes place.
Have you ever wondered where the yeasts needed for fermentation come from? If you follow our publications or WSET trainings, you certainly know that the brewer has several possibilities to obtain them. Either from a commercial source, therefore bought from specialized organizations, or from a wild source, with yeasts isolated from the environment.
We are proud to present Nomirinko, a rare product! You certainly know the mirin, this condiment widely used in Japanese cuisine. Well it is a mirin to drink that we suggest you discover. This one is produced by Komatsu Shuzo, in Saga. This category does not exist in our catalog, we have chosen to place it in the "exceptional vintages" category and you will quickly understand why...
We are pleased to introduce a new range of accessories with Riedel sake glasses. With the Riedel Vinum Daïginjo and the Riedel Extreme Junmaï, the prestigious house covers a good part of the needs of demanding tasters. Riedel Vinum Daïginjo and Extreme Junmaï were developed in 1999 and 2017 in collaboration with the most prestigious Japanese Kura.
Have you carefully observed the color of the sake you taste? Apart from nigori and koshu sake, it is generally not very pronounced, but did you know that after filtration, the color of sake is more pronounced? If the final product is not very tinted, it is thanks to the ingenuity of certain brewers who developed, at the beginning of the 20th century, a method to get rid of undesirable colors.
First of all, a little reminder: you know that there are two main categories in the classification of sake, Futsuu Shu sake (or "ordinary" sake), and Tokutei Meisho Shu sake, (or "premium" sake). Futsuu Shu, even if they account for more than 70% of the total production, do not necessarily attract the favor of specialists. They are generally produced by the majors whose owners often bear their name.
The man behind the Tonoike Shuzoten is called Itsugoro Tonoike. He was born in 1904. 5th boy of the Tonoike Sogoro Shoten brewery, he left it at a very young age to found his own unit. It's the history of the original kura, like many sake breweries in Tochigi, which is very interesting. It was created by a family from a group of workers from the distant Shiga locality of Oomi Shonin.
We propose to you today to take an interest in the broad outlines of the pasteurization stage of sake. Called "hi-ire" in Japanese, which could be translated as "to set on fire", pasteurization is practiced for the vast majority of commercially available sake. It is done just after sedimentation and filtration of the contents of the vats. It stabilizes the sake before it is put on the market.
We are very pleased to present to you today the work of Sasaichi Shuzo Brewery through two new sake of remarkable quality, the sake of the "Dan" series. Sasaichi Shuzo Brewery is located in Otsuki-shi, in the heart of Yamanashi Prefecture. It was founded in 1661 under the name Hanadaya, and renamed Sasaichi Shuzo in 1919. Like most of the Kura, it was modernized very quickly during the 20th century...
The design of sake bottles or labels is usually ultra-sophisticated; even the novice is not indifferent to it. But when the contents are as beautiful and good as the container, one touches ecstasy. This is the case with this magnificent realization from the Imayo Tsukasa Brewery in Niigata. A Nishikigoi bottle (inspired by the art of carp breeding for their motifs), and a "Koi" sake. Did you know that the representation of a carp swimming upwards is a symbol of good fortune in Japan?
In 2020, the Tokyo Olympics will take place, a global event punctuated by sporting events, but also by many moments of conviviality and sharing. A great opportunity to appreciate Japanese culture and its know-how. Sake will of course be part of the event, but for Tsushima Kitahara, owner of the Yamanashi Meijo brewery, it's not enough. The project he has been working on since 2010 is to develop an ultra-quality sparkling sake.