From: Kyoto, Japan
Taste: From your first sip, you'll experience a burst of bright, fresh flavors, an intriguing blend of the rustic and the refined. The taste profile is exceptional: the sweet, fruity elements of honeydew melon blend smoothly with the earthier undertones of raw pumpkin and radish. This intriguing mix of flavors is embedded in a full-bodied, creamy texture that renders it a fairly thick and chewy nigori (cloudy sake). But don't be misled by its rich consistency; the Snow Maiden surprises with its dryness.
Much like the taste, the aroma is crisp and fresh, with the delightful pairing of fragrant rice and fresh fruit. On the palate, this sake is substantial, faithfully replicating the flavors your nose hinted at. The finish is pleasantly astringent and comfortably mellow, encouraging another indulgent sip.
The International Wine Cellar's Stephen Tanzers describes this sake as "Heavy milky-white. Nutty, creamy nose. Rich, chewy, and lush, with soft saline and banana flavors and an attractive hint of fruity sweetness. Not complex, but this mellow, easy-to-drink sake is not short of acidity."
Pairing: When it comes to pairing, the "Snow Maiden" shows remarkable versatility. Its subtle sweetness and texture make it an ideal dessert companion, from coconut macaroons to more exotic selections. For a savory experience, consider pairing it with rich dishes like Crab Rangoons or Five-spice pork spareribs (check out the recipe below) balancing the heat with its cool, creamy undertones.
Five-Spice Short Ribs
Recipe from Chow Bar
Adapted by Florence Fabricant
About. Nestled in the heart of Japan, Kyoto beams with an aura of timeless tradition and unparalleled beauty. Its illustrious history echoes through its majestic temples, serene gardens, and enchanting teahouses. Yet, amid its cultural richness lies a bubbling hub of another quintessentially Japanese tradition: sake brewing. In the city once honored as the nation's capital, the art of sake production thrives, an indelible craft that dates back centuries. Kyoto boasts more than 30 breweries and sits at its very epicenter.
One of the illustrious gems in Kyoto's brewing crown is the Kizakura Brewery. The pride of Fushimi, a district in southern Kyoto celebrated for its pristine water sources crucial for sake brewing, Kizakura Brewery might be a relative newcomer in the long history of sake, but it has more than earned its stripes.
Founded in October 1925 and incorporated in December 1951, Kizakura Brewery could be described as the dynamic youngster among the old and revered sake houses. Yet, in over half a century, it has carved a niche with a relentless pursuit of exceptional sake quality. Whether crafting a bottle for casual, everyday enjoyment or brewing an exquisite blend worthy of a special occasion, Kizakura's commitment to incredible sake is unwavering.
At the helm of this passionate endeavor is Toji (Sake Head Brewer) Yoshinori Wakai, who has dedicated himself to fostering the unique brewing techniques and traditions that the Tozai sake line from the Kizakura Brewery has become renowned for.
The Tozai Collaboration: A Confluence of East and West
The Tozai sake line, birthed from the Kizakura Brewery, is an international masterpiece. The name itself, Tozai, meaning "East-West" in Japanese, captures the spirit of the partnership that brought this incredible product to life.
The line is the result of a unique collaboration between Kizakura Brewery, Vine Connections (America's leading importer of chilled, premium, artisanal Japanese sake), Daimon Shuzo, a British-born Master Sake Brewer—Philip Harper, and Daniel Kelly, a renowned Kyoto-based American artist.
Each partner in this alliance brought something unique to the proverbial table. Kizakura lent its brewing prowess and artisanal approach, Philip Harper his masterful brewing expertise, Daniel Kelly his artistic brilliance, and Vine Connections its skillful distribution network and understanding of the Western palate.
The resulting boutique sake line is a veritable feast for the senses. From the delicate aroma that wafts from each bottle, hinting at the bouquet of flavors within, to the visually stunning packaging designed by Daniel Kelly, each aspect of the Tozai sake is a celebration of the unique collaboration that brought it into being.
And then there's the taste. Each sip of Tozai sake entices the palate with a subtle harmony of flavors that hint at the pristine Fushimi water and carefully selected rice grains, transformed by the skilled hands of the Kizakura brewers and their collaborators into this unique beverage.
The Tozai line is not just a drink; it's an experience—a testament to the power of collaboration, a blend of Eastern and Western tradition and innovation. It is a tribute to the beautiful city that it calls home and a shining example of Kyoto's enduring place at the heart of sake brewing.
Named in honor of Hanako, the legendary Japanese koi fish that thrived for over two centuries in the frosty waters beneath Mt. Ontake, Tozai's "Snow Maiden" sake is a testament to endurance, elegance, and unique charm.
Payment & Security
Your payment information is processed securely. We do not store credit card details nor have access to your credit card information.