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This month we bring in exclusive bottles from your favorite brewers! These are sakes from breweries that are consistently best-sellers at Umami Mart since we started selling sake in 2015. From Suigei, makers of the wildly popular Drunken Whale, to Yucho who make the famed Kaze no Mori series, we are bringing you sought-after bottles from these all-star brewers.

What makes these sakes a hit? I believe it's because they are consistant, delicious and attractive – all at a fair price. When asking Kazu Enomoto of Ichinokura Brewery why he thinks the Extra Dry Mukansa does so well, he replied, "This sake is dry and well-balanced at a reasonable price." Similarly, Kazuyoshi Miura of Suigei adds, "Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai is popular because the taste performance for the price is particularly good." While Yucho Shuzo's Chobei Yamamoto says, "There are certain elements that humans find instinctively delicious, and they want to drink again." No wonder, y’all keep coming back for more Kaze no Mori!

Because sake labels are hard to decipher (even for people who read Japanese!), the label must also be attractive and stand out from the rest. From the iconic whale on Suigei's bottles to the chic calligraphy of the Gangi logo, brewers are aware that customers gravitate toward visually-pleasing and memorable labels. Miura of Suigei says regarding the logo, "The whale illustration is now always drawn on the labels of regular products because it has been well-received by customers." Enomoto of Ichinokura says they've updated their labels this year, "We modified the label by adding a QR code so consumers can get more information about our sake, and added a samurai cartoon which we hope makes it recognizable."

We special ordered sakes from these popular brewers that are a step above the best-seller versions offered regularly on our shelves!

 Brewer
Best-Seller at Umami Mart
Specially Featured for Gumi this Month
Yaoshin Gangi Hitotsubi Junmai Gangi Mizunowa Junmai Ginjo
Suigei Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai Suigei Junmai Ginjo Ginrei
Ichinokura Mukansa Honjozo Extra Druy Mukansa Honjozo Dry
Yucho Kaze no Mori Junmai Kaze no Mori Alpha 3 Junmai Daiginjo

Let us know what you think of these fancier versions of our best-sellers!

Yoko, Co-Founder of Umami Mart and Kikizakeshi

Suigei Junmai Ginjo Ginrei
Suigei Brewing (Kochi, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 50% Ginpu, SMV +7, Acidity 1.7

Just like its popular sibling, the Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai, Ginrei has crisp acidity with a medium dry finish, rounded out by savory umami. However, their junmai ginjo offers a bit more in terms of aroma – notice hints of banana and green apple. I’m happy to see our whale friend on this label. The illustration was created 30 years ago as a design for a plate and eventually made it onto to their labels. Enjoy this sake chilled or at room temperature in a rocks glass to enjoy the aroma. This sake is perfect for a casual night of take-out rolls or with grilled chicken.

Gangi Mizunowa Junmai Ginjo
Yaoshin Shuzo (Yamaguchi, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 50% Yamada Nishiki, SMV: +1, Acidity 1.8

We love Yaoshin because they only make muroka junmais (pure rice sakes made without charcoal filtration). The brewer says, “We approach the art of sake brewing simply, without the need to add or remove anything.” Notice the beautiful golden hue and silky texture that sits elegantly on the palette. We stepped it up a notch for Gumi and chose the junmai ginjo, with a tropical bouquet full of lychee and mango-cream colliding with a hint of mochi-like sweetness and clean acidity. I love this sake at room temperature in a wine glass. Pair with a plate of smoked fish and soft cheeses!

Mukansa Karakuchi Honjozo
Ichinokura Brewery (Miyagi, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 65% Toyonishiki, SMV +4~+6, Acidity 1.1~1.3

Mukansa means “without evaluation” and refused to be classified within the old sake classification system which stratified sakes into different tax categories. Now a defunct system, you can say that this sake series had something to do with its abolishment. As the weather cools down, I recommend this sake warm in a ceramic cup at around 120°F. Enjoy aromas of fresh-baked banana bread, and a hint of pancakes on the palette! Enjoy with little fried fish, shabu shabu or vegetable tempura!

Kaze no Mori ALPHA 3 Junmai Daiginjo
Yucho Shuzo (Nara, Japan)
Seimaibuai: 50% Akitsuho, SMV + Acidity: Undisclosed

Whenever we get Kaze no Mori Akitsuho 657, it sells out in days. Yucho Shuzo is staunch about their namas, releasing only the freshest and liveliest on the shelves. I love the gentle pear aroma accented by the sizzle of CO2, sweetness of muscat grapes, and mild acidity. On the label, the characters Kaze no Mori (“Wind of the Woods”) painted by a female calligraphy artist, are superimposed over the branches of a tree. This tree can be seen from the brewery on Mt. Katsuragi, where the hardest water in Japan flows underground. Chill and pop this open for the salad or crudite course before the big turkey unveiling!