We were able to get special pricing on this incredible bottle of Sake, made by the Brewery Honda Shoten in Hyogo in southern Japan above Osaka and west of Kyoto, founded in 1921. This is one of the few breweries that we have worked with that takes the rice terroir very seriously. As a great vigneron would, Honda Shoten has studied the land extensively to learn and source from the best growers in the area. Takeyoshi Honda conducted soil research at the Graduate School of Agriculture in Kyoto, Japan, for 20 years until his passing in his late 80s. His findings on how different soils affect Yamada Nishiki were revolutionary, discovering that magnesium content is linked to Sake's sharpness and bitterness. The district where the rice is grown for this Sake is called Tojo and is said to be an ancient conversion spot of rock creating a stratum of tuff and shale that has been eroded down over a long time into black clay soil called "2-1 smectite" (pictured below) which is perfect for growing rice. This location also has a high elevation, excellent sun exposure, and reaches a high temperature during the day while very cool nights and is one of the top areas for growing Yamada Nishiki in Japan. At the very top of the list for Sake is the Akitsu, named after the village the rice is sourced from in the Tojo district. They specifically purchase the rice from a man named Mr. Tsukura, who is said to grow the best Yamada Nishiki in all of Hyogo. By law, it must be organic, dried in the traditional method, and processed by hand. Every effort is made to make sure that this Junmai Daiginjo is perfect, and Honda Shoten said the idea behind the Akitsu was to be the Romanee-Conti of Sake, a bold statement. The Yamada Nishiki is polished down to 35%, taking over 100 hours per batch before a slow three-week fermentation process. The Sake is filtered and bottled where it is aged for up to 8 years at 32F before it is released, creating unmatched complexity. The Akitsu has aromas of honeysuckle, ripe melon, stone fruit, and a deep minerality with an apparent focus on the terroir, a beautiful airy rice aroma, and is still very fresh. Subtle at first, this builds in richness and layers of Umami enveloping the palate in a beautiful balance between laser-focused acidity and delicate sweetness that fades to dry on the finish. An incredible mix of elegance and power with a luscious, velvety texture and excellent length on the finale with definite soil tones coming through on the palate and nose. It's a fantastic and expressive sake that goes surprisingly well with cured meats, cheeses, as well as traditional Japanese fare. Akitsu is a must-try for the serious sake drinker and is moderately priced compared to other Sake at this level and brings that Romanee-Conti level of precision and perfection to the world of Sake.