Yamagata, Japan

"Juyondai," produced by Takagi Shuzo in Murayama City, Yamagata Prefecture, has become one of Japan's most esteemed sake brands. Founded in 1615, Takagi Shuzo is nestled in Murayama, a region renowned for its agriculture and heavy snowfall. Juyondai, known for its smooth, aromatic, and sweet flavor, first appeared in 1994 with "Juyondai Nakadori Junmai." This release marked a shift from the prevailing light and dry sake trend of the 1980s to a richer, more flavorful profile. The scarcity of Juyondai, despite its popularity, is due to limited production. Takagi Shuzo prioritizes quality over quantity, focusing on a labor-intensive, sensory-based brewing process rather than mechanized production. This commitment to excellence limits the number of bottles available, making Juyondai a rare and sought-after sake.