The quality junmai sake, made in Uonuma City in Niigata, is a pure sake made of just 100% Japanese rice polished to 65% of its original size. The key ingredients are water and koji mould, which turns the starch in the rice to the sugars necessary for fermentation.
With about 90 sake breweries, Niigata is one of Japan’s leading sake-producing areas. The snow and rain that falls on the mountains of this region create springs which feed the rice fields. Winter time is the traditional sake-making season. The cold weather here allows for slow fermentation, resulting in a particularly delicious sake.
The Shirataki Shuzo brewery was established in 1855 in Echigo Yuzawa Town, and began using the local water. The combination of this natural charcoal-filtered water, locally-grown Koshihikari rice, and the same traditional sake making principles that have been passed down through generations, as well as modern technology, are what makes Shirataki Shuzo’s sake some of the best.
Uonuma is an area of Niigata Prefecture with celebrated natural beauty. The sake from here pairs easily with a variety of dishes, both Japanese and Western. This particular sake is a pure sake, meaning that it contains no brewer’s alcohol. It is also of a high quality due to the degree to which the rice has been polished.
This and other fine sakes are available at Japan Centre. Visit them here
Drinks review by Chrissie Walker © 2018