About Snow Maiden
The image on the label is a koi, or Japanese carp. Ornamental domesticated carp have been bred for their bright colors for centuries in Japan. Perhaps the most famous koi is one named Hanako which reportedly lived for 226 years! Hanako translates to "Flower Maiden", but in homage to the long-lived Hanako which lived in the icy waters at the foot of Japan's Mt. Ontake, we have named this sake "Snow Maiden".
Katano occupies a well-known spot in Japanese history. During the Heian era (over 1000 years ago), the aristocracy of Western Japan flocked to Katano to enjoy the very beautiful scenery that abounded there including lovely cherry blossoms in the spring and the verdant surrounding mountains.
Hunting was the main sport of the gentry and cotton seed oil and silk production were the usual industries of the residents.
Sake production began during the Edo period, but of the many sake-producing firms originally present, only Daimon Shuzo and one other remain.
Tozai represents a unique collaboration between a fifth-generation Japanese sake brewery—Daimon Shuzo, a British-born Master Sake Brewer—Philip Harper, a prominent Kyoto-based American artist—Daniel Kelly, and America's leading importer of chilled, premium, artisanal Japanese sake—Vine Connections. Tozai means "East-West" in Japanese and evokes the spirit of the alliance that created this special sake. We have combined our vast experience, skills, and passions to create a boutique sake that will thrill your senses of smell, taste, and sight.
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.
Sake with the lowest milling requirement at no less than 30% milled, so that 70% of each rice grain remains, is simply called Junmai. It is made of water, koji mold, yeast and rice. The categories of saké are established not by rice variety, but by their polishing or milling percentages. Junmai is also brewed in the absence of added alcohol. Some brewers, in search of other flavors, aromas and textures, will add a small amount of distilled alcohol during the brewing process. But the alcohol in any saké labeled Junmai will come purely from fermentation.