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The Kahoku Online News site covers a spicy sake – not just with hints of spice picked up by an expert taster, but actual spice added during brewing.

Fonia Terra is another launch from experimental venture company Wakaze, based in Tsuruoka, Yamagata. This latest entry in its Fonia series was released on 22 May 2018.

The sake has additional ingredients added during brewing: ginger, yuzu and sanshō hot pepper. Instead of being made the same way as most modern sake, by the sokujō-moto method where man-made lactic acid is used to create optimal brewing conditions, it’s brewed by the allegedly original mizu-moto method where naturally occurring bacteria and microorganisms are allowed to colonise the starter and brew the sake.

The rice used is from Sakata, Kame-no-ou variety grown with no fertiliser or agricultural chemicals and highly polished. The brewing was done by Eau de Vie Shōnai, part of the Kiyoizumigawa brewery which is also based in Sakata. The result is a sake that brings out the sweetness and umami of the rice, accented by a spicy aroma. It should pair well with herbed dishes or strongly flavoured meat dishes.

A 500 ml bottle has a recommended retail price of JPY 3,000 and plans are to sell it both across Japan and overseas.