Joto Sake importers recently held a sake tasting at LAN restaurant in the East Village. Best part was, the Brewers themselves were there to introduce their sakes. When people ask me what they can do to learn more about sake, I always encourage them to attend events just like this one. Talking directly to the people who make the sake is one of the best ways to learn. Let’s check out the Joto sake!

Yuho “Happy Rice”

Miho Fujita

Miho Fujita

This sake is from outer space? That’s what Miho Fujita told me when I first sampled her brews. Seems their brand name “Yuho” sounds an awful lot like the way “U.F.O.” is pronounced in Japanese. Well, I will say it is “out-of-this-world” delicious.

It’s a new offering from Joto sake importers and quite a find. Yuho has been creating buzz in Japan and rightfully so. I tried Fujita-san’s Yuho Junmai first. A thoroughly modern Junmai, it’s well balanced and slightly rich. I also sampled the Yuho Junmai Ginjo. Bright and vibrant, this is a very versatile sake. I tasted light hints of citrus with a wonderfully crystal clear finish.

Yuki no Bosha “Cabin in the Snow”

Kotaro Saito

Kotaro Saito

Snowy and remote Akita Prefecture is well known for sake making, and the magnificent sakes from Yuki no Bosha keep that reputation alive and well. I was happy to meet a sake rock star, Mr. Kataro Saito, the Fifth Generation maker of these sakes.

I started exploring these sakes with one of my all time favorites, Saito-san’s famous Yuki no Bosha Nigori. It’s light and breezy with all the very best parts of Nigori texture and limited release Junmai Ginjo in one. If you want to explore Nigori – I recommend you start here. I also enjoyed the delicious “Akita Komachi Daiginjo“. This delicious sake was rich, super smooth and just exuded elegance. A real gem among fortified daiginjos.

Wataribune

Takaaki Yamauchi

Takaaki Yamauchi

Yamauchi-san (please call him “Taka”), the man behind Wataribune, is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm for sake. I had the pleasure of visiting Huchu Homare Brewery, home of Wataribune, and getting the grand tour from Yamauchi-san himself! Please read about my visit HERE.

Tasting his brews again brought be back to that wonderful trip. I enjoyed getting reaquainted with the Wataribune Junmai Daiginjo. A rich and fruity daiginjo, look for peach and honeydew on the palate and also a nice long finish that stays with you sip for sip. Delicious!

Chikurin “Bamboo Forest”

With Niichiro Marumoto

With Niichiro Marumoto

Marumoto-san is the wonderful maker of “Chikurin” brand sakes. He looked great in his kimono and I just had to get a pic with him. I enjoyed Marumoto-san’s wonderful hospitality last October on my trip to Japan. Read my full account of Marumoto Brewery HERE. Fantastic!

Today I got to try Chikurin Karoyaka “Lightness”. It’s light with mild fruits and enough body to hold it perfectly together. I also enjoyed Chikurin Fukamari “Depth”. This sake is good and There is a touch of richness that comes from the fact this sake is blended with a small amount of aged sake. Great to enjoy these Chikurin sakes again!

When you get a chance to try these Joto sakes don’t miss it! They offer a wonderful taste of the artisanal brewery movement in Japan: Delicious, hand-crafted, amazing. Kanpai!

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