Japanese Food Culture Essence and Spirits

Sommelier Talk Episode 38

Sommelier Talk Episode 38 Hidden Sake Menu – Sake from Niigata

Sake of the Niigata Prefecture origin are characteristically known for their tanrei karakuchi or light/dry-crisp flavors. This genre of Tanrei Karakuchi and Ginjo style Sake created quite a stir when in the 90’s, as Umakuchi or Umami-packed Sake had been the industry norm. However, this “revolution" spearheaded by the dedicated and highly skilled Echigo Toji, became the catalyst to spark the Jizake boom, uplifting all breweries across Japan which were dwindling at the time.

Niigata Prefecture is a long stretch of land extending along the Sea of Japan, with high mountain ranges as backbone to its east. And in between are the Echigo plains, producing the largest volume of rice, in particular, the premium Koshihikari rice. Niigata is also one of the top producers of Sake housing nearly 100 breweries, second only to Hyogo Prefecture. Many are small-scale, local breweries clustered in the alluvial areas in Muika and Yuzawa, costal sand dunes of Kashizawa, and the Nagaoka areas.

In Niigata, nature’s gift of heavy rain and snow as well as the cold winters’ climate, creates the perfect condition for low temperature and long fermentation. And the abundant soft water produced by snowmelt is highly suitable for brewing the light and soft mouth-feel Sake that the region’s well known for. And finally, Gohyakumangoku, the Shuzo Kotekimai Sake rice developed there specifically for Sake brewing, yields a plentiful harvest each year.

The enormous success of Niigata’s Tanrei Karakuchi Sake has carried over to the US, where now, they’ve become permanent fixtures at most Japanese restaurants. Among these Niigata brews, there’s yet been another evolutionary trend, one toward deeper and bolder flavors. These offer the characteristics especially suitable for a Hidden Sake Menu listing.

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Sommelier Talk 37

319_1.gif Hidden Sake Menu
A Privileged Delight for Those in the Know

To promote sales, small businesses have been offering special hidden menus apart from their regular menus for quite some time, however, in recent years, big chain restaurants as .....

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Kikumasamune Dry Sake Cup

Kikumasamune Dry Sake Cup Stock#6403
Package: 30/180ml 1-GO, 6oz.
Alcohol Contents: 14-15%

Smooth, umami-rich flavor with clean and dry finish.

Miyako Fluffy Pancake Mix

Miyako Fluffy Pancake Mix Miyako Fluffy Pancake Mix
Stock# 20120
Package: 12/2.2lbs

Make delicious Japanese-style pancakes in minutes!
- reasonable price
- convenient re-sealable bag

Also available:

Miyako Bread Flour
Stock# 20139
Package: 12/2.2#

Miyako Pastry Flour
Stock# 20162
Package: 12/2.2lbs
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Japanese food photo
YUZU, a Japanese lemon - lime like citrus fruit, highly fragrant and pleasantly sour.

Most commonly the rind is used to flavor various dishes such as vegetables, fish or noodles. The Yuzu is difficult to find in the U.S. You can obtain bottled juice or dry, powdered yuzu.