MONTHLY PICK - SEPTEMBER
Koshino Kanchubai Gold Label
Ojiya City, home of Niigata Meijo Co., Ltd., is known for its heavy snow. With a long, cold winter and abundant water thanks to the snowfall, the environment is perfect for brewing sake. Koshino Kanchubai Gold Label is crafted by embracing the blessings of this local climate.
Once you sip this award-winning jumai ginjo sake, you'll be charmed by its delicate and round taste. Ojiya City's long, cold winter allows sake to brew slowly and delicately. Also, the region's heavy snow melts and permeates the soil to grow high quality rice, as well as offers mild water. Both of these aspects are indispensable for making Koshino Kanchubai Gold Label.
Its smooth texture and clean aftertaste perfectly complement Japanese foods that maximize each ingredient. It can be enjoyed in a wide temperature range as the flavor stands out when chilled, and its round aroma is enhanced when warmed. It has received several Gold Awards including at the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition and at the 2015 TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
Niigata Meijo Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - AUGUST
Tatsuriki Junmai Daiginjo Akitsu
With a delicate taste and velvety texture, Tatsuriki Junmai Daiginjo Akitsu is a supreme sake made with supreme rice. Just like "Gran Cru" wine, this sake features rice produced in the designated territory in Akitsu, Hyogo Prefecture, known for the quality Yamadanishiki rice. Brewed by Honda Shoten Co., Ltd., which is also located in the prefecture, the sake packs the flavor of the region.
Honda Shoten has a strong belief that sake rice complements sake, and it highly regards the origin of sake rice. Yamadanishiki rice from the Akitsu territory, classified as a Super-A area, is their choice for Tatsuriki Junmai Daiginjo Akitsu. Its rich and elegant taste is recognized as a top-class daiginjo sake, receiving a number of prizes in Japan and overseas. To enjoy the essence of the sake, serve chilled or at room temperature. It's great to drink on its own, but if you'd like to pair food with this wonderful sake, the brewery recommends fresh oysters and foie gras au torchon.
Honda Shoten Co.,LTD.
361-1 Aboshiku Takata, Himeji, Hyogo, 671-1226 JAPAN
MONTHLY PICK - JULY
Kinoene Migaki Hachiwari
Kinoene Migaki Hachiwari is a junmai sake from IINUMA HONKE CO., LTD. located in the town of Shisui-machi in Chiba Prefecture. This brewery has always believed that sake is not supposed to stand alone, but to create harmony with the food which it accompanies. The philosophy is well demonstrated in this versatile sake that can be paired well with a variety of foods from meats to fish dishes, from tuna to snapper to oysters. The dry, crisp finish and the light aroma are made to enhance an array of flavors.
The history of IINUMA HONKE goes back 300 years. Originally a large rice farm, their first sake production was in the form of making o-miki (sake to give to the gods) made from their rice surplus. Today, each of their sakes is still made with rice cultivated in their own rice field. Using local Chiba rice, Fusakogane, the grains are polished minimally so that the taste and umami of the rice are well retained in the sake, resulting in the ultimate dinner table sake. It’s best to enjoy it room temperature or warmed.
IINUMAHONKE CO., LTD
106 Mabashi, Shisui-machi, Inba-gun, Chiba, 285-0914 JAPAN
MONTHLY PICK - JUNE
IKEZO Sparkling Jelly Sake
With 5% alcohol content and a touch of sweetness, the Ozeki brand’s IKEZO is a sake-based cocktail with a jelly-like texture and light carbonation to tickle your tongue. This “sake jelly shot” contains naturally occurring Ceramide and α-EG (both are natural moisturizers), making it perfect for female consumers.
Ozeki has been offering an array of exquisite sakes since its establishment in the Nada region, Japan, in 1711. IKEZO is just another one of their masterpieces. Just like Champagne cocktails, you can add fruits such as berries, mango and pears to match one's preference. By adding fruits or Campari and soda, you can even make an original cocktail. It is suggested that IKEZO be shaken about 20 times before drinking or mixing, to even out the jelly texture. Whether you choose to drink it straight or in your own concoction, IKEZO pairs well with spicy, herb-filled foods or can be drunken alone.
Ozeki Sake (U.S.A.), Inc.
Distributed by JFC International, Inc.
MONTHLY PICK - MAY
SUIGEI JUNMAI GINJO GINREI
Suigei Junmai Ginjo Ginrei is the signature sake for Suigei Brewery Co., Ltd. Using optimal sake rice, Matsuyama Mii, polished to 50%, this sake is brewed in small batches at low temperatures over a long period, resulting in a crisp sake that is easy on the ginjo aroma with a great balance of umami and acidity, which is characteristic of the brand.
Established in 1872, Suigei Brewery was built in the city of Nagahama in Kochi Prefecture. Suigei means “Drunken Whale”, and is named after a sake-loving feudal lord from the Tosa region. Today, it is the only brewery in the prefecture. In 1985, the brewery decided to produce ginjo style sakes, and Suigei Junmai Ginjo Ginrei was the first ginjo the brewery had ever produced. The secret to its clean, yet elegant taste is the traditional style ginjo yeast, Kumamoto Kobo. This sake pairs especially well with fish and dishes flavored with soy sauce, but its clean finish and the slight citrus flavor complement oily meat dishes as well. It is best enjoyed chilled.
Suigei Brewing Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - APRIL
DRY SAKE CUP
Specially developed for the foreign markets, DRY SAKE CUP by Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Co., Ltd. is a sharp, crisp and full-bodied sake. The brewery is known for producing excellent dry-tasting sake, with people even saying, “When it comes to a dry sake, that’s Kiku-Masamune”. Encased in a cute “cup sake” style bottle, the sake is best enjoyed on casual, relaxed occasions.
Kiku-Masmune has more than 350 years of history, producing dry sakes that perfectly complement Japanese cuisine. DRY SAKE CUP is made with original kobo yeast, exclusively used in their brewery. It successfully brings out a taste that is easy to drink, versatile in drinking temperature (from chilled to hot), and great with a variety of dishes. It particularly goes well with ramen and yakitori skewers; so pull the top, drink up and enjoy with tasty foods.
Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - MARCH
Even if you are not familiar with the Kikusui brand, you might have seen a cute canned sake with a gold label and an impressive red Japanese logo at Japanese restaurants. That is a signature nama (unpasteurized) sake from Kikusui Sake Co., Ltd., a 130-year old sake brewery in Niigata Prefecture. They have recently released Junmai Daiginjo KURAMITSU, a sake that pulls out the full flavor of locally grown Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
First of all, Niigata Prefecture is well known for producing high quality rice, mainly for eating. Koshihikari grown in this region is one of the most prestigious rice varieties based on its quality. Kikusui succeeded in crafting exquisite junmai daiginjo class sake by using this highly regarded rice harvested in Niigata's Uonuma City. Usually rice for eating has smaller grain than rice for making sake, which means it’s not really cost effective to use this rice for sake brewing. However, the brewery uses Uonuma Koshihikari 100%, which mans it is polished slowly over 6 days until the rice size has been milled down to 23%. The result is an elegant and flavorful sake with a touch of sweetness from the Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
To enjoy the beautiful taste of Kikusui KURAMITSU, it’s recommended that you drink it chilled (at about 7 degrees Celsius/45 degrees Fahrenheit). If you drink it at room temperature, you’ll find it to be a little sweeter. It complements cream cheese and seafood carpaccio, but it also goes great with aged beef.
Kikusui Sake Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - FEBRUARY
Tengumai Yamahai Junmai
Tengumai Yamahai Junmai from a long-standing brewery, Shata Shuzo, epitomizes the beauty of a good balance of full flavor and acidity. This junmai sake, made with the traditional “yamahai” style brewing method, is an excellent sake to enjoy on its own or paired with various types of dishes, such as grilled fish and hot pot. Made by milling Gohyakumangoku sake rice up to 60% remaining, it has a superb rice flavor and a golden color that delights the eyes as well.
Established in 1823, Shata Shuzo is a jizake brewery that’s still hand-crafting sake using the yamahai method. Generally, yamahai sakes are higher in acidity, full-bodied, and earthy with a touch of sweetness. Tengumai Yamahai Junmai can be enjoyed at a whole range of serving temperatures and is an excellent complement to food. It pairs greatly with Japanese dishes as well as strong flavored dishes like mac & cheese and Chinese cuisine. Its unique flavor brings out the taste of dishes.
Shata Shuzo Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - JANUARY
Koshihikari Echigo Beer
Koshihikari Echigo Beer is a unique, lager style beer made from super premium, short-grain rice called Koshihikari. It’s brewed by Japan's first microbrewery, ECHIGO BEER, located in Niigata Prefecture that is known as an ideal rice growing region.
Using the time-consuming decoction method originated in Germany, Koshihikari Echigo Beer delivers sweetness of the Koshihikari rice to satisfy even the non-dry beer drinkers. It contains 5% alcohol, and with a crisp, refreshing flavor, it flows exceptionally smooth for a superb drinking enjoyment. It goes well with all Japanese dishes especially sushi. Koshihikari Echigo Beer comes in two styles, bottled and canned.
Echigo Beer Co. Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - DECEMBER
Taisetsu Junmai Ginjo
Brewed in a freezing climate, Taisetsu Junmai Ginjo has a crisp, dry taste and a pleasant aroma reminiscent of sweetness. Century old brewery in Hokkaido, Takasago Sake Brewery, maximizes the environment and employs a unique aging method to produce such a refined taste profile.
Located on the northernmost island in Japan, Takasago Sake Brewery endures long, cold winters with heavy snow. To take full advantage of the power of nature, they figured out a unique storing method that greatly affects sake quality. After brewing sake, they bury tanks in the snow and store them for 100 days to age slowly in the freezing temperature. Protected in the deep snow from outside air, the tanks are not exposed to the direct temperature changes during the winter, maintaining a stable aging environment. The result is a sake with a mild, round flavor and aroma, which embraces the severe winter cold.
Taisetsu Junmai Ginjo, made with locally grown Ginpu variety sake rice by polishing until 45% remains and aged in the snow, it fully packs the essence of the region. It is best enjoyed chilled or slightly warmed.
Takasago Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - NOVEMBER
Created by a dream collaboration between SakeOne and Suisen Shuzo in Iwate Prefecture, Kibo is a junmai sake that comes in a one cup that has a deliciously soft, as well as sweet and mellow flavors with a slightly dry finish. Boasting a medium body, mellow, smooth, and light aroma, and gentle yet bold taste, the sake fits the flavor profile most desired in the U.S. today.
It was first introduced in the U.S. at the Outside Lands Music Festival in the West Coast during this summer, and has been slowly gaining a steady fan base since. The name, Kibo, means “hope”, and is named after the fact that the brewery located in Rikuzentakata had overcome the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami of Japan in 2011 which had wiped out their entire town. Despite this tragedy, the brewery proudly uses 100% of their local water and sake rice called Hitomebore polished to 70% for this brew. With notes of cantaloupe, cherry, red berries, grape, and a hint of lemongrass, the sake creates a fantastic harmony with grilled poultry and fatty fish.
MONTHLY PICK - OCTOBER
Crafted in the Hitoyoshi-Kuma region on the southern tip of Kumamoto Prefecture, KINJO SHIRO is an authentic rice shochu filled with natural blessings and original production methods. Its full-bodied yet rich aromatic flavor comes from superbly blending three kinds of rice shochu, each aged in a different type of barrel: American white virgin oak, Cognac, and Sherry barrels.
Hitoyoshi-Kuma, the shochu’s hometown, offers essential elements for shochu production. With mineral-rich water and premium rice grown in fertile soil and a harsh climate, the region has produced shochu beloved by local people since the Kamakura period (late 12th to early 14th century). KINJO SHIRO was born with the spirit of the locals and abundant natural resources along with unique production such as reduced-pressure distillation and the brewery’s original blending method.
KINJO SHIRO, a gold prize winner from Monde Selection of 2014, can be enjoyed most on the rocks or cut with soda. You will also relish the shochu with meat dishes such as steaks and grills as well as bitter chocolate.
TAKAHASHI SHUZO Co. Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - SEPTEMBER
Uniquely made from sweet potato and koji cultivated on sweet potato, IKKOMON is a rare shochu that maximizes the full benefits of the base ingredient offers. With a full bodied flavor, nutty aroma and crisp finish, IKKOMON is packed with the essence of sweet potatoes grown in the South Kyushu region.
Generally, sweet potato shochu utilizes sweet potato as a base ingredient and koji cultivated on rice. Unlike those standard sweet potato shochu, IKKOMON make the best out of sweet potato koji that allows you to fully enjoy the rich taste and well-rounded aroma of sweet potatoes from Kagoshima Prefecture.
Enjoy IKKOMON in the oyuwari (diluted with hot water) or maewari (diluted with cold water one day in advance). When you do maewari, you mix shochu and water in a ratio of 6 to 4 and let it sit overnight. That makes shochu and water harmonize each other and produces mild taste.
TAKARA SAKE USA INC.
MONTHLY PICK - AUGUST
UNAGUCHI KIKUSUI NAMA GENSHU
acked in a unique tin can, FUNAGUCHI KIKUSUI NAMA GENSHU is an eye-catching sake. But its appeal does not only come from its appearance. FUNAGUCHI is an un-pasteurized and un-diluted sake that has a rich, full-bodied flavor but with a refreshing clean finish.
The most damaging elements to the quality of sake are the light, heat and the air. So in order to protect this delicate sake from the damaging light rays and deliver the unique taste of freshly brewed sake, KIKUSUI developed its packaging techniques. They use an aluminum can to completely block out the light, and then they fill the cans right to the top to reduce the amount of air that could come into contact with the sake. This way we could protect this delicate type of sake allowing more people to enjoy the flavor of pure sake previously only available to those lucky enough to visit the brewery.
This nama-sake has a rich, fresh fruity taste and with a high alcohol content of 19%.
Due to its strong flavor presence it can pair with richer foods than your normal sake, such as juicy beefsteak.
Because FUNAGUCHI is un-pasteurized, the fresh fruity flavor matures day-by-day in the can. In six months it transforms into a rich brandy-like flavor. After one year it comes to resemble a Chinese rice wine. Experience the difference of un-pasteurized, un-diluted sake.
Kikusui Sake Co., Ltd.
MONTHLY PICK - JULY
It’s common knowledge that barley shochu is lighter than sweet potato shochu, and that it has less body. Nishiyoshida Syuzou, a 120-year old shochu distillery in Fukuoka Prefecture, changed this notion by introducing their full flavored, nutty Tsukushi barley shochu series to the U.S. market.
With the belief that making shochu is like making smiles and with the goal of contributing to society by producing honkaku shochu (premium shochu), Nishiyoshida has strived to develop new technology while still improving the traditional craftsmanship since its establishment in 1890. Rooted in the local area of the Tsukushi Plain and using local water and produce, the brewery brings genuine Fukuoka flavor.
612 Izumi, Chikugo City, Fukuoka JAPAN 833-0041