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You would have thought only a time machine could transport you to a place like this. This part of Northern Kyoto is defined by its many jagged ocean inlets, which have also defined this region as a major hub for commercial fishing. The town of Ine is special and it's where we find sake brewery Mukai Shuzo nestled among the hundreds of small boat houses ('funaya') built literally on top of the water so owners can pull their boats right into the "first floor" of their homes.
Mukai Shuzo is a tiny outfit in this tiny harbor town, producing minuscule amounts of low-intervention sake since the late 1700s when it was founded. The brewery is now headed by Toji (Master Brewer) Kuniko Mukai, who is making her own mark on the traditions of her family's 200+ year history of brewing. She studied at Tokyo University of Agriculture where one of her professors encouraged Kuniko to utilize an ancient variety of red-hued rice called Murasaki, which grows locally in Ine.
"Ine Mankai" or "Ine in Full Bloom (of cherry blossoms)" is the fruits of her experiment fermenting this ancient varietal. Full-bodied and full-flavored, this bottle shows off the harmony of acidity with a mild sweetness. There is a bright, juicy fruitfulness that plays off of an earthy musk and streak of flowers. This is a singular sake experience, defined by terroir and the creativity of the Master Brewer. Versatile in terms of food pairing - go with anything from BBQ (Korea to Memphis), or fruit-based tarts!
Organically grown, low-intervention/natural sake, vegan.