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Yuzu Umeshu Won Gold at the Lyon International Competition for Two Consecutive Years!

For the second year in a row, Kishu Yuzu Umeshu (plum wine) has won the top gold medal at the 11th Concours International de Lyon (Lyon International Competition) held in France. Kishu Yuzu Umeshu is the first Japanese plum wine to win the top prize in the liqueur and spirits category for two consecutive years.

The Lyon International Competition is sponsored by Les Toques Blanches, an association of renowned French chefs representing the gastronomic city of Lyon, and the Lyon Sommelier Association. 9,261 brands from 43 countries entered this year’s competition in three categories, including wine and beer.

Up until now, a mix of knowledgeable amateurs and professionals in the field at each table would do the blind tasting and give scores. However, this year, due to the effects of the new coronavirus infection, the selection was made over a period of three weeks by nine top-class sommeliers.

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The Liquor and Spirits category was created in 2015 and has been growing in terms of entries and alcoholic beverages each year. In 2021, 392 brands from 30 countries entered the competition in this category, of which 129 (71 Gold and 58 Silver) were awarded.

Koji Nakano, president of the company, said that this product, which contains domestic yuzu juice in the regular umeshu made with fresh Nanko plums from Kishu region in Wakayama, was the first product he had worked on, and that he was encouraged by the fact that it is still being appreciated more than 10 years after its launch in 2006.

Click on the banner to watch the video of president’s commentary!
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Watch a Video About How Tamba Wine Is Made!

Kyoto Wine That Goes Well with Japanese Food

Tamba Wine was established with the goal to make a wine that would go well with Japanese food. Finding that imported wines often did not suit the qualities of Japanese cusine, a lighting fixtures salesman who was passionate about wine, Tetsuo Kuroi, set up the company with a Tamba farmer to produce wines that complement Kyoto’s traditional cusine.

To achieve that they ferment some white wines after clarification to get a clearer taste, and balance the high acidity and fruitiness in the wines with the character of Japanese food. Today, the winery is known for producing mainly delicate tasting wines and has traditionally challenged the experimental cultivation of various international varieties.

The farm and the winery are located about 50 kilometers northwest of Kyoto city. The company’s vineyards are on a soil called “andosol” which is rich in organic matter, and where the climate is ideal for growing grapes due to the large temperature difference between day and night.

Click on the banner to watch an introductory video of the winery here and see how Tamba wine is made!

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Recommended Wine

Tamba Harimasan Merlot is a medium light, well-balanced wine with a scent that makes you feel like you’ve found a lot of berries while strolling through the forest. It has a light finish, with a refreshing and easy-to-drink mouthfeel, and a moderate tannin. A great food pairing for this wine is shabu-shabu with sesame sauce.

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Tamba Wine Harimasan Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Harima (Hyogo Prefecture). It has a rich aroma of black fruits such as blackcurrant and blackberry, and a clean herbal aroma of mint. The pleasant tannin and elegant acidity, that almost chase each other, develop as it ages. It goes well well with sirloin steak and game meat.

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Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo – Have a Glass of Akita Sake!

Brewery Introduction

Saiya Shuzo is a sake brewery based in Akita, northern Japan. Founded in 1902, the Saiya brewery is a hidden gem in the sake world. The brewery won twelve gold medals and three silvers at the Japanese National New Sake Competition in the fifteen years between 1990 and 2008. This makes them the fourth most-awarded brewery at the competition.

The brewery has always put a strong focus on using their own in-house yeast and milling rice properly. They have been cultivating their own yeast for more than 30 years, and the yeast they have selected over the years gives Yuki No Bosha its original flavor and stable quality. From the selection of top-quality sake rice and highly precise milling technique right down to the bottling and shipping, the brewery meticulously monitors every step of the sake brewing process to ensure an exquisite balance of flavours in its sake.

Click on the banner to watch the introductory video!

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Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo

Yuki No Bosha is the most well-known brand from Saiya Brewery. It is known for its pronounced aroma, silky and balanced body, clean acidity, and rich umami. Yuki No Bosha which literally means “Cabin in the Snow,” is a celebration of the northern, Akita region of Japan. Rustic, rugged and rural Akita prefecture is cherished by the Japanese for its lively festivals, tranquil winter and delicious sake.

Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo is one of the best products from this brewery. Bottled without an addition of water, and without filtration with charcoal/micro-paper, Yuki No Bosha sake has a rich and bold flavor, laden with pleasant acidity. It is a superb sake that has ripe fruit tones including strawberries and mangos that dance in a silky and clean flow. The softness of this Junmai Ginjo and the vivid acidity are muted by a fruitiness without being sweet. This is the perfect sake for those looking for a fruity experience but don’t want too sweet!

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Watch the Video on the Making of the Eikun Sake!

Eikun Brand by Saito Shuzo

In Fushimi, Kyoto, there is a sake brewery called Saito Shuzo, which brews Eikun sake. The brewery has set an unbroken record of winning the gold medal for 14 consecutive years at the National New Sake Competition, an annual competition for new sake, and focuses on brewing sake using Iwai rice, which can only be produced in Kyoto and used only by breweries in Kyoto.

Iwai rice is known as difficult to work with, as it is very springy and tends to ball up easily, and because it is hard to break up, it doesn’t dissolve easy, which affects the taste of sake. However, Saito Shuzo went through a trial-and-error process for about two years, and they now know how to control it well. And they made the right choice indeed – with Iwai rice you can get a unique and great flavor that no other sake has.

Click on the  banner to watch the process of making Eikun sake!

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Recommended Sake

KOTOSENNEN brewed from  55% polished Kyoto’s original invented Iwai rice. Iwai is a classic sake specific rice from Kyoto. It tends to produce an elegantly fragrant and mellow sake with a soft texture.

Bringing out characteristics from Iwai rice, rich in taste, perfect aromatic fruity fragrance. This semi dry Junmai ginsho sake has a crisp favour.

 

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Junmai Ginjo Nito Yamada Nishiki 65: Perfectly Balanced Flavour youtube

Nito by Maruishi Brewery

The Maruishi Brewery was founded in 1690. Their signature brand ‘Nito’ is highly focused on production methods and quality ingredients.

Taste and aroma, acidity and umami, heavy and light, sweet and dry. After repeated trial and error to achieve the best balance and flavor between these two contradictory elements, Omachi and Yamadanishiki were chosen as the best rice for Maruishi’s sake brewing.

Omachi is used for Junmai Daiginjo and Junmai Ginjo sake, aiming for a clean, rich in flavor and sweetness, and light on the finish sake. While Yamada Nishiki is used for Junmai Ginjo and Junmai sake, aiming to create a sake that unfolds its flavor slowly and comfortably, with a light aftertaste that lingers on your palate.

The symbol of ‘Nito’ are two hares from the old proverb saying if you “run after two rabbits you’ll catch neither”. Maruishi, however, believes they are able to catch both hares. And we believe they truly do with their perfectly balanced sake!

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Recommended Sake

Junmai Ginjo Nito Yamada Nishiki 65 is made with 100% Yamadanishiki rice polished to 65%. It has a gentle umami and an acidity that wraps around your palate, with sweet aroma reminiscent of fruit. In the mouth, it starts with the sweetness and acidity spreading quickly, and the refreshing, slightly dry taste finishes the overall flavor. Best served at room temperature to lukewarm.

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