In 2020, the Tokyo Olympics will take place, a global event punctuated by sporting events, but also by many moments of conviviality and sharing. A great opportunity to appreciate Japanese culture and its know-how. Sake will of course be part of the event, but for Tsushima Kitahara, owner of the Yamanashi Meijo brewery, it's not enough. The project he has been working on since 2010 with his brother Toji is to develop an ultra-qualitative, sparkling sake that he intends to position at the heart of the very exclusive category of festive and celebratory beverages. The occasion of the Olympics will be wonderful. Will we toast to sparkling sake in 2020?
We would like to present you this work, which has now come to fruition with the marketing of 3 absolutely sublime vintages, produced in the Champagne method and without dosage.
DISCOVER THE BREWERY OF YAMANASHI MEIJO
Yamanashi Meijo Brewery is located in the heart of Yamanashi Prefecture, at the foot of the little-known side of Mount Fuji, the place commonly referred to as "the Japanese Alps". This region is famous for its wine-growing activity. Since the 8th century, famous wines have been produced here from the Koshu or muscat bailey A grape varieties.
Sake has been brewed in Yamanashi Meijo since 1750 by a descendant of a long line of brewers who originally settled in the Nagano area. The representative of the seventh generation of this lineage, Mr. Kitahara, discovered water of exceptional quality in the heart of the Hakushu locality and decided to settle there to found his own brewery.
Entrance of Yamanashi Meijo Brewery
It is interesting to note that if he was the first to notice the quality of this water, he was later joined by the Hakushu whisky distillery belonging to Suntory. Today the two producers share this precious good and are the only ones to use this source.
Preparation of Koji at the Yamanashi Meijo Brewery
To learn even more about the brewery, we invite you to consult the producer's file by clicking here.
The "binaï niji hakko" method for the production of sparkling sake
This method consists of producing sake in the conventional way, but leaving a deposit of rice after the press. This deposit will allow a second fermentation in the bottle, thus increasing the alcohol content and, above all, the creation of CO2 in the bottle which will result in an increase in pressure up to 5.5 bars. Before pasteurization, the sake is disgorged (or not for certain vintages) in order to eliminate the sedimentary extracts in the bottle.
Why are these sparkling sakes "zero dosage"?
It is customary in the production of champagne to add an "expedition liqueur" or "dosage liqueur", a mixture of cane sugar and old wines of Champagne which allows, among other things, to complete the volume lost when the champagne was disgorged. It will define the category according to the quantity of residual sugar in the bottle.
For sake, the dosage is not possible, simply because it is forbidden to add anything once the filtration is finished, otherwise the appellation "sake" (or "nihonshu" of course, if one wants to remain within the local nomenclature) will be lost. All these sake are therefore zero dosage.
THE RANGE OF YAMANASHI MEIJO'S PETILLANTS
Three vintages are currently available and we are proud to be able to offer them in Europe.
Filtration is intentionally incomplete (usu nigori). This sake is therefore slightly cloudy, with a fine deposit of rice, and low in alcohol with 11% alcohol.
The bubble is fine, well present and persistent. It is fresh, lively, with hints of ginjo, and beautiful aromas of pear, pineapple, green apple and citrus fruits. A silky sake, incredibly precise, with a lot of freshness.
See the product sheet
Japanese sparkling sake bottle HoshinoKagayaki
It is produced as ginjo before the second fermentation in the bottle. The deposit is disgorged to obtain a clear liquid. Fine, shiny bubbles allow the ginjo aromas to fully express themselves, in an overall sensation that is both soft and lively.
A sake to toast and toast for special occasions. To be enjoyed chilled, as an aperitif or dessert, but also during the meal with selected agreements, white fish, simply cooked vegetables, cheese and fruits.
See the product sheet
For this sake, Yamanashi Meijo takes advantage of her direct environment and the excellent relationship she has with the nearby Suntory distillery with which she shares the water source. This sake is matured in casks that have contained Hakushu whisky; in this regard it is exceptional and rare. A sake in which the fruity aromas of ginjo become complex as a result of maturation in whisky casks. It brings notes of maple syrup and vanilla. It is smooth and soft in the mouth, the bubble is elegant and fine. A top-of-the-range sake to be enjoyed on the most beautiful occasions, chilled, as an aperitif or with dessert.
See the product sheet