The Secret of Sake Wonderland "Nagano 長野" Blessed with the Highest Mountain Range in Japan
Next to Niigata, Nagano prefecture has the 2nd largest number of brewery. The highest mountain range called “Japan Alps” crosses this area, and gives blessings of nature to all the people live here.
Especially, fruits like apple, grape and peach are well-known not only in Japan, but also around the world. The same is true of brewery rice. Local branded rice “Miayamashiniki” represents the sake brewing of Nagano and each brewery produces original sake with using high-grade “Miyamanishiki”.
SAKEMARU offers 3 labels of seasonal limited sake produced by breweries in Nagano. Before appreciating those sake, please learn the sake culture of Nagano.
Nagano is the only prefecture 3 high mountain range cross its land. Each of them is called “Hida mountain range” “Kiso mountain range” “Akaishi mountain range”. Three of them are called “Japan Alps ” all together. The underground water flows down from those 3,000 m high mountains is extremely soft and pure.
Breweries of Nagano don’t need to worry about securing the high-grade water. There are lots of high-quality water sources. The clear and pure taste which sake produced in Nagano tend to have should be originated in the characteristic of its water.
It’s very hot in summer but not to tough owing to its low humidity. The ground is mostly covered with snow in winter and it’s very severe and cold.
This gap of temperature makes crops accumulate sugar and their taste become richer and sweeter. Nagano is the place where has one of the longest duration of sunlight in Japan. This also support crops to grow well. That is why they can produce high-quality brewery rice.
Also, very cold Winter enables brewers to proceed fermentation slowly and extract the richness of rice out.
This is originally produced in Nagano but mainly produced in Tohoku area such as Akita, Yamagata and Iwate. The sake produced with this brand is similar to the one of Gohyakumangoku, however, it’s milder, sweeter but less aromatic. We can enjoy the gentle umami influenced by rice.
It’s born in 1994, very new brewery rice. Aim is to make the brewery rice more suitable for sake brewing than Miyamanishiki. The grain is very large and hard, so that polishing of rice is much easier.
Owing to this characteristic, brewers in Nagano tend to use this label to produce high-grade sake like Daiginjo.
People say this rice “dreamy brewery rice”. Since this rice is allowed to produce in only Kijimadaira village located in north part of Nagano, the production quantity is extremely small.
Sake produced with this rice tends to have very complex aroma and various layers of taste. Most surprising part is the its finish. The complex taste and aroma unite and turn to be totally new one.
No. 7 協会酵母7号
It was found in Miyasaka shuzo produces Masumi which is the most famous label in Nagano. Owing to its characteristic produces gorgeous aroma like orange, it had been spread around Japan instantly.
However, currently only a few breweries still use this yeast, since current major yeast produced more gorgeous aroma than No.7. Recently, Miyasaka shuzo backs to basic and reproduces brand-new sake with using No.7.
Born in 1990. This yeast produces a lot of ethyl caproate which is the component of sake’s fruity aroma. This fruity aroma like apple shakes the sake industry of those days.
Lots of breweries in Nagano won the gold medal of national new sake competition with the sake brewed with Nagano C.
Currently, lots of new yeasts which produces more gorgeous aroma and rich taste has been invented. Then, the number of gold medal which breweries in Nagano win has been gradually decreasing. To turn this situation around, Nagano D has been invented.
The amount of Isoamyl acetate which is the component of sake’s fruity aroma like banana is 20% higher than current popular yeast No.901 and ethyl caproate is 3 time higher. But, it’s very difficult to control the fermentation.
Masumi 真澄, Meikyoshisui 明鏡止水 and Juku 十九 are the 3 most major labels in Nagano and actively promote their brand to the world. However, Nagano has around 80 breweries which is 2nd largest number.
Each brewery produced their original brand with own brewing philosophy. Especially, there is one very unique movement. Young brewers in Nagano unite and take very ambitious trials. This is Gokujo（59醸）
5 young brewers born in Showa 59（1984）unite to produce the new value, which only we who live in same era and share similar identity can come up with.
Until members become 40 y/o, we will produce original labels called “59醸酒” and take lots of new and attractive events.
To inherit this traditional culture to the next generation, we unite and offer marvelous sake.
SAKEMARU’s sake for basic and special plan in May are produced by Maruse shuzo which is one of the member of Gokujo（59醸）. Let’s appreciate the delicious sake produced by young gun who bears the future of Nagano’s sake and participate their campaign.