3 Sake Brands from Niigata You Should Try
Regarding sake (酒), what has been spotlighted in recent years in Japan is, admittedly, Dassai (獺祭), which became a big hit several years ago.
The sake Dassai is brewed by a sake brewery in Yamaguchi Prefecture Asahi-Shuzo (旭酒造) and was presented to the former president of the United States Obama when he visited Japan.
Because of that, it is no exaggeration to say that, at present, Dassai is the most popular Sake brand in Japan. But concerning the production area, the prefecture where I live, Niigata, is one of the most famous.
3 Sake Brands Niigata Boasts
Niigata/新潟 is renowned for its delicious rice and prides itself on sake brands that are well-recognized and highly regarded nationwide.
Among others, the following three names are best known to sake lovers because of their excellent taste.
It has an exquisite taste said to have changed the image of sake, and few Sake fans don’t know the brand.
Kubota comes in 5 grades: Manju (萬寿), Hekiju (碧寿), Kouju (紅寿), Senju (千寿), and Hyakuju (百寿), and Kubota Manju is the best.
Manju is a Junmai Daiginjoshu (純米大吟醸酒), a type of sake made only with three ingredients: 50 percent or less polished rice, malted rice, and water, characterized by perfectly balanced umami with a mild flavor.
Koshi no Kanbai (越乃寒梅)
Brewed by Ishimoto-Shuzo (石本酒造) in Niigata City, Koshi no Kanbai is one of the most renowned sake brands in Japan. It was a phantom sake before, and it since has been highly regarded.
Even now, the sake is difficult to obtain but is so popular that the products in the series are sometimes traded at premium prices on internet auctions and online shopping sites.
As with Kubota, Koshi no Kanbai is available in several grades, and Koshi no Kanbai Kinmuku/越乃寒梅 金無垢 is the top-ranked Junmai Daiginjoshu.
Kinmuku features a refined taste accompanied by a delicate fragrance called Ginjoko (吟醸香) specific to the sake Ginjoshu (吟醸酒), including Dai-Ginjoshu.
The sake shown in the photo above, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo, is a Junmai Ginjoshu (純米吟醸酒), a type of sake made from 50 to 60 percent polished rice, malted rice, and water.
The sake features a natural sweetness of rice, and when going down the throat, it gives a pleasant sensation.