The best sake is made only with rice, water and koji, a rice dough treated with a fungal culture and yeast. With the name Tokutei Meishoshu, these sake have a special designation, represent 20 percent of the annual yield and are also the most expensive since, during the long production process, the rice is polished until only the heart of the grain remains. Therefore, more rice is needed to make better sake, and more time and care to do it really well. These are some of the best in the international market.
BREWERY: Minakuchi // REGION: Exime
With a very light steel-gray color, its aroma exudes salty notes under a backdrop of white fruits such as apricots, and tropical fruits like sapodilla, strawberry and lychee. In the mouth, it has a friendly and delightful flavor, full bodied and with a dense and almost gelatinous taste, ending with herbaceous notes and clear hints of peach skin.
Yamatan Masamume Shimanami
BREWERY: Yagi Shuzobu // REGION: Ehime
Its color is gray, almost transparent, clean and bright. The subtle aroma comes with faint vegetable notes. In the mouth, the taste reminds us of the sweetness of anise, very thick and silky. It also has hints of acidic fruits with honeyed sensations. Very long finish, with a bright and lingering green apple flavor.
Eiko Fuji Namazake Junmai Finjo
BREWERY: Eiko Fuji // REGION: Yamagata
It has a clean gray color. When one smells it, the hints of yeast and slight notes of tropical fruit and green apple are immediately revealed. It is luxurious, luminous and creamy on the palate, with the taste of green apples, caramel, cotton candy, banana and papaya. Its acidity is well balanced and has a nice silky finish.
BREWERY: Yukisuzume // REGION: Ehime
Yukisuzume Sumine has a steely, clean and bright gray hue. Closer to the nose, slight floral notes and fresh-cut grains, barley wheat and faint reminiscences of licorice are easily percieved. In the mouth, it has a fresh salty flavor with a fairly smooth and linear path adorned with jasmine and apricot sensations. The finish is sweet and at the same time dry and understated, perfect to accompany millet soup or tuna tartar. ■