Echigo-Tsumari Art Field is one of the largest art events in the world which started in 2,000 and holds every 3 years in Echigo, Tsunanmachi and Tokamachishi of Niigata prefecture. They produce the special edition Junmai Sake by collaborating with Uonuma Shuzo, one of the oldest 4 breweries in Echigo-Tsumari in Japan.
“Tenjinbayashi” is a song to pray for the harvest from a long time ago in Echigo-Tsumari region. Also, people sing this song on the occasion of special events such as breweries opening, starting to farm rice, so that “Tenjinbayashi” is very popular sake for celebrating something in this area. Moreover, the quantity of this label is limited, so it’s hard to buy it in other areas.
For making more and more people know the local brand, Echigo-Tsumari Art Field collaborated with Uonuma Shuzo to design the new bottle and the package, and they were nominated by Tokyo Type Directors Club Annual Award 2010. This label was produced by using the cloud funding, and only funders can get before its official release, then we received in the end of 2016.
The bottle is designed by the famous designer, Takeaki Shirai of “Design Design”. To respect the feeling, which thanks to the rich natural environment, of the residents in this area, Mr. Shirai tried to design the bottle which people can feel the power of nature while drinking sake.
The iconic sceneries of this area are used for the design of each 3 label. Bijinbayashi (Beautiful Beech Forest) is for Daiginjo Genshu, Rice terraces for Junmai Ginjo and Inenohazakake (drying rice on a rack) for Tokubetsu Junmai.
Here are the simple descriptions of the 3 labels and the food pairings.
Junmai Daiginjo Genshu
Brewery rice: Koshitabrei, Polish rate: 55%. Produced during the severe winter with a heavy snowfall, stored in low-temperature without being pasteurized till next autumn, and pasteurized before bottled.
The first taste is a refreshing and fruity, the aroma goes into the nose is like fresh vegetables, rich umami of rice and slight sourness like citrus fruits shows up in the middle, and the aftertaste finishes cleanly. It is suitable to pair with sushi bowl with full of freshness but not heavy.
Brewery rice: Gohyakumangoku, Polish rate: 55%. The aroma is simple and soft like a rice cake. The mild aroma like lactic acid and umami influenced by the rice continues from the beginning to the end going through the throat, and the aftertaste is slightly dry. It’s middle-bodied, great for the heavily seasoned Sukiyaki. It is a wonderful table sake. The sweetness increases along with the rise of temperature. The brewery recommends to drink it at 40℃.
Brewery rice: Koshitabrei, Polish rate: 55%. The brewers produced it during the most severe winter carefully and fermented it in a low-temperature because they wanted to make the fresh fruity aroma, umami of rice, and refreshing sweet characteristic.
The first impression is its sweet taste and aroma just like a melon. Towards to the end, it’s gradually drier, and the finish is like a young radish. But, it’s very amazing that umami is more distinguished instead of its dryness after drinking 1 hour. It is really suitable for a simply seasoned crab dishes.
Drinking them with food or not are both great. All of them are not too unique labels, so I guess even beginners would like them. If you have a chance, why not give a try!