AOKI Shuzo is located in Shiozawa, Niigata Prefecture, more specifically, in the Uonuma region, one of the snowiest in Japan.
Established in 1717 by Takafumi Aoki, AOKI Shuzo has been brewing Nihonshu continuously for over 300 years. Their sakés are made using the best water and other perks from the Snow Country, as well as the talented brewmasters of the Echigo-Toji Guild.
This is certainly the case with KAKUREI 鶴齢 sakés, their signature brand. They are designed to accompany Uonuma’s cuisine, strongly flavoured with salt and soy sauce that preserve fish and vegetables during the long winter. These KAKUREI show off the crisp and delicate characteristics of Niigata saké, while also bringing out the umami of the rice which provides a fresh and new taste with every sip.
The KAKUREI JUNMAI GINJO is light, silky and fresh with aromas of cooked apples harmonizing with a round and soft umami.
It is the favourite saké of several Tojis that I have met. He was awarded a gold medal at the 2020 US National Sake Appraisal.
Born in Shiozawa, in the year 7 of the Meiwa era (1770), Bokoshi SUZUKI 鈴木 牧之 as the founding merchant of the current brewery created the Kakurei brand.
Bokoshi SUZUKI was also an essayist who wrote Hokuetsu Seppu 北越 雪譜 (Snow Stories from the North Etsu Province) documenting the winter life of Uonuma. Published after 30 years of development, this book became a bestseller at the end of the Edo period. It introduces the culture, dialects, customs, traditions, textiles of Chijimi and the way of life in this snowy region.
The Junmai YUKIOTOKO 雪男 (the snow man) takes its name and silhouette from the strange hairy beast that appears in the book.