Mantensei Star-Filled Sky Sake (300ML)
Soft, honey-laced nose with a tad of fruitiness. Good richness and overall balance, finishing dry. Try this sake with ginger pork stir fry, spinach salad, and goat cheese with a honey drizzle.
Mantensei is brand brewed by Suwa Izumi. This kura was founded in 1859. The name Suwa Izumi was taken from a local Shinto shrine, Suwa Jinja. The shrine itself has been in existence since 1278, and is a famous local attraction. Tottori Prefecture, where they are located , is one of the least populated regions of Japan, and undoubtedly has some of the most beautiful nature. Mountains, oceans and wooded areas vie for space, with people in the minority. The clean air and the cold winters make it ideal for sake brewing. Located about two hours outside of Osaka by express train, there are only 23 sake breweries still remaining in the prefecture.
Overall their sake is dry, and wonderfully approachable as a result of the water from which it is brewed. The water is extremely soft, but it ferments well at low temperatures. So they make their sake with long, low-temperature fermentation, which allows a gentle ginjo fragrance, and a fresh lively flavor to develop. Also, as they know koji is where good sake begins, they do it their own way, which is to make the koji at a slightly higher temperature than usual. This helps give their sake a clean and pleasant finish.
Their sake, in particular their Daiginjo Ottori, has its fans from all over Japan. They have won nine gold awards in the national New Sake Tasting competitions and 12 similar awards within Tottori.
The introduction of the waterwheel in the 17th century, which eliminated the need for the manual polishing of rice grains, allowed Japan to begin producing saké at an industrial level for its greater population. Today Japan remains at the cutting edge of technology in its brewing practices. However, the traditional methods of handcrafted, artisanal saké remain alive in smaller and often family-owned breweries. Many of these showcase local ingredients and focus on microclimates to make what is known as ‘jizake,’ or regional saké.
A notch above Junmai in its milling requirement, by definition Junmai-Ginjo requires milling of 40% of the rice grain so that 60% of each grain remains. The categories of saké are established not by rice variety, but by the polishing or milling percentages. Junmai-Ginjo is made up of water, koji mold, yeast and rice and is brewed without the addition of any added alcohol.