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Ama no To Heaven's Door Sake (300ML)

Junmai from Akita, Japan
  • ST91
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Winemaker Notes

Faint aromas of raisins and earthiness. Overall slightly dry flavor but with nice fruity essences in the recesses, supplanted by nice rice-like tones and a gentle sweetness beneath.

They have won five straight Gold Prizes in the prestigious National New Saké tasting competitions. The water which flows up from the springs here has been famous since the Edo era (1600-1868).

Critical Acclaim

ST 91
International Wine Cellar

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Ama no To

Ama no To

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Ama no To, , Japan
Ama no To
In 1917, Soukou Kakizaki and a local friend started up our company, Asamai Shuzo, which today brews the sake brand Amanoto. They began with a working capital of 20,000 yen, with each share of stock priced at 500 yen. It didn' take us long to get up to speed, for between 1930 to 1934 we won four consecutive awards in national sake-tasting competitions. We were forced to stop brewing in 1943, and turn in our equipment for war-related reasons, but were granted a special permit to begin again a year later. We have not looked back since then.

Presently, we use Akita-grown rice and Akita yeast AK-1 to brew our sake, and have won five straight Gold Prizes in the prestigious National New Sake tasting competitions. We are proud of our accomplishments, and intend to continue to strive to maintain our high standards of quality. The Sake
Our sake presents overall a solid, crisp flavor profile. On top of this dances a subtle but lively array of flavors. Each of our sake, from our average sake to our top-grade daiginjo, has its own strengths and qualities. Some is more quiet, some is fruity and fragrant. But all maintain the basic qualities infused by great rice, great water, excellent yeast, and our toji's skills.

With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence, and strong emphasis on white wines...

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With its fairytale aesthetic, Germanic influence, and strong emphasis on white wines, Alsace is one of France’s most unique viticultural regions. This hotly contested stretch of land on France’s northeastern border has spent much of its existence as German territory, and this is easy to see both in Alsace’s architecture and wine styles. A long, narrow strip running north to south, Alsace is nestled in the rain shadow of the Vosges mountains, making it perhaps the driest region of France. The growing season is long and cool, and autumn humidity facilitates the development of noble rot for the production of late-picked sweet wines Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles. Alsace is divided into two halves—the Haut-Rhin and the Bas-Rhin—the former, at higher elevations, is associated with higher quality and makes up the lower portion of the region.

The best wines of Alsace can be described as aromatic and honeyed, even when completely dry. The region’s “noble” varieties are Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Pinot Gris. Other varieties grown here include Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Chasselas, Sylvaner, and Pinot Noir—the only red grape permitted here, responsible for about 10% of production and often used for sparkling rosé known as Crémant d’Alsace. Riesling is Alsace’s main specialty, and historically has always been bone dry to differentiate it from its German counterparts. In its youth, Alsatian Riesling is fresh and floral, developing complex mineral and gunflint character with age. Gewurztraminer is known for its signature spice and lychee aromatics, and is often utilized for late harvest wines. Pinot Gris is prized for its combination of crisp acidity and savory spice as well as ripe stone fruit flavors. Muscat is vinified dry, and tastes of ripe green grapes and fresh rose petal. There are 51 Grand Cru vineyards in Alsace, and only these four noble varieties are permitted within. While most Alsatian wines are bottled varietally, blends of several (often lesser) varieties are commonly labeled as ‘Edelzwicker.’

Gewurztraminer

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Unmistakably perfumed and unabashedly heady...

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Unmistakably perfumed and unabashedly heady, Gewürztraminer is one of the most distinctive white grape varieties. It is considered a noble variety in the Alsace region of France, and can produce beautiful wines in the mountainous Alto Adige region of north-eastern Italy. With the notable exception of the Anderson Valley, most regions of California are too warm for Gewürztraminer’s low potential acidity, but it has done particularly well in more northerly, cooler regions of North America such as British Columbia, Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, and New York's Finger Lakes.

In the Glass

Gewürztraminer is bold and highly aromatic, with intense flavors of lychee, rose petal, ginger, musk, exotic spice, smoke, pineapple, apricot kernel, and peach. Wines range from bone dry to quite sweet, and its naturally low acidity is offset by high levels of skin-derived phenolics, which in addition to aromatics provide weight and a good structural grip.

Perfect Pairings

Gewürztraminer’s natural spiciness makes it a great ally for flavorful cuisine, such as Indian, Middle Eastern, or Moroccan fare. It is also excellent with dense, oily fish like salmon, swordfish, and mahi-mahi, and works well with a wide range of meats and charcuterie. Gewürztraminer truly shines with classic Alsatian dishes like choucroute, Quiche Lorraine, and anything egg-based.

Sommelier Secret

Because of its floral perfume and tendency towards slight sweetness, Gewürztraminer makes for an excellent gateway wine. For those who have been introduced to wine through Moscato or other sweet wines, Gewürztraminer can serve as the perfect bridge towards an appreciation for dry whites.

PSNJAM002_0 Item# 92144

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