The Zao Tokubetsu Junmai sake from Zao Shuzo is a very fresh and crisp sake. Tokubetsu means "special", so this is a special Junmai sake with a rice polishing degree of 55%. Only the local rice Miyama Nishiki is used. The Zao Tokubetsu Junmai Sake is extremely refreshing and fruity with a pleasant acidity and a good portion of umami. You can taste light notes of citrus and lychee as well as hazelnut.
Zao Tokubetsu Junmai is produced by Zao Shuzo in the city of Shiroishi in Miyagi Prefecture. The Zao team is one of the youngest in the country; all employees, including the toji, are between 20 and early 30s. The brewery's sake has won many awards. Zao Shuzo is the 11th most awarded brewery in Japan for its sake.
Zao Tokubetsu Junmai has a very fresh and clear taste. Tokubetsu means "special", to get this designation the polishing degree of the sake must be less than 60%. A Tokubetsu Junmai sake is considered slightly better than a Junmai sake, but in terms of taste, these qualities do not usually fit into a Ginjo category. Their character is a little more rustic, but at the same time they have a very exciting and refined taste profile. Only Miyama Nishiki, a popular sake rice from Miyagi Prefecture, is used. The Zao Tokubetsu Junmai has a nice acidity and lots of umami and is great in food parings with fish, grilled meat, cheese and sweet desserts.
You can enjoy this sake at different temperatures, both well chilled and warmed (≈ 40°C). In the warmed version (Kanzake), the umami flavour becomes even more intense.
Learn more about sake from Miyagi Prefecture here .
Japanese Junmai Sake / Tokubetsu Junmai
Rice polishing grade: 55%
Net quantity: 720 ml
Alk.: 15% vol
Dispensed only to persons of legal age
Importer: Ginza Berlin GmbH, Pfalzburger Straße 20, 10719 Berlin
About Zao Shuzo
Zao Shuzo was founded in 1873 at the foot of the Zao Mountains in the city of Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture. It is the only sake brewery in the city. At the time of its foundation, it was a small independent sake producer, producing only 4,500 litres of sake. Today, Zao Shuzo ranks 11th nationwide among Japan's most awarded breweries for their sake. Since its foundation, the brewery has consistently dedicated itself to quality-oriented sake brewing. Only local rice from Miyagi Prefecture is used. Miyama Nishiki and Kura no Hana, special sake rice varieties for the production of premium sake, are grown by farmers in Shiroishi City and the neighbouring town of Kakuda in cooperation with young farmers from the region. The area is blessed with particularly soft water from the Shiroishi River, so it offers ideal conditions for sake production. The sake kasu (sake trub), which is left over from brewing, is used as a fertiliser component for the rice fields, so that sake becomes rice again.
Another special feature of Zao Shuzo is the average age of the employees. The team is very young, all employees are between 20 and 35 years old. In 2016, a then only 28-year-old toji was hired. The taste of the sake has changed since then. While it used to be very rich in taste, Zao sake is now extremely fresh and clear.