We tasted a few more Sake bottles last weekend, and this was our winner of the value bottles. Many are probably familiar with Hakkaisan, their snow-aged Junmai Daiginjo is an excellent Sake, but a few others in the range deserve attention. Founded in 1922, Hakkaisan is located in Niigata Prefecture in western Japan in the mountainous countryside of Uonuma, tending to focus on seasonal Sakes made in limited runs each year. The Shiboritate is one of those seasonal selections made from October to March using two heirloom rice varieties from Niigata Gohyakumangoku and Koshiibuki together make dry, very clean Sake with airy complexity. Shiboritate is made with the fermented mash's first press, similar to the Coeur de Cuvee in Champagne, and is undiluted and bottled at cask strength. As a result, it has a higher alcohol content of 19% but keeps its balance and is unperceivable. This Sake also has a lovely texture from the undiluted first press, which is also unpasteurized, helping the Sake retain all of the subtle, fresh aromas and flavors that are lost during the process. This clean Sake is excellent at the start of a meal but has the palate-cleansing effect that many look for while enjoying a meal with notes of white flowers, honeydew, sesame seed, vanilla, oyster shell, and yeast. A touch of sweetness at the first sip leads into a very clean and focused palate with a phantom effect that is very subdued on the midpalate and bursts back to life on the very long finish. One of the ultimate value Sake's we have the last batch made for the year and which after we sell out won't be available until next winter.