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Fruity? Pairs Well With Steak? Introducing Exceptional Japanese Sake From Niigata Prefecture
Whenever someone asks which parts of Japan are most famous for Japanese sake, Niigata Prefecture immediately comes into mind. In this article, we'll introduce some amazing sake from two renowned sake breweries in Niigata Prefecture.
About Niigata Prefecture: Delicious Rice and Sake
Niigata Prefecture is situated to the north of central Japan, facing the Sea of Japan. This means that though it gets quite hot and humid in the summer, it also receives plenty of snow in the winter. It is a famous rice production region and is where several of Japan's famous rice brands, such as "Uonuma Koshihikari," come from.
Since rice is one of the main ingredients of Japanese sake, Niigata Prefecture has also been known for its sake since long ago. What adds to the exceptional quality and flavor of the sake is Niigata's top-quality soft water, which is rich in minerals thanks to the melted snow that absorbs all the minerals from the mountains. That isn't all—the environment also lends itself well to sake production as the summer heat is perfect for growing rice while the frigid cold winters are great for sake fermentation. All of these conditions are the reasons behind the success of Niigata Prefecture as one of Japan's top sake production areas.
The Most Delicious Sake From the Iconic Obata Sake Brewery
Sado Island lies 30 km off the coast of Niigata Prefecture in the Sea of Japan and is home to the 130-year-old Obata Sake Brewery. It is said that you need high-quality rice, clean soft water, and incredibly skilled people to make Japanese sake. Obata Sake Brewery has all three of these elements plus a fourth—the bountiful nature of Sado Island—which it uses make their original Manotsuru brand of sake.
We particularly recommend the "Manotsuru/Sado Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo," a sake that has won awards worldwide including a gold medal in the sake category at the 2019 International Wine Challenge. It carries the beautiful aroma of strawberry and orange peels as well as a full-bodied flavor, and is definitely a drink worth tasting at least once!
The Best Sake to Try at the Award-Winning Shiokawa Sake Brewery
Though there are many breweries in Niigata Prefecture, Shiokawa Sake Brewery has managed to gain a particularly large following from international sake fans. The brewery has been operating for over 100 years in Niigata City. If you wish to sample its iconic lineup, you can't miss the "Negaibito Yamahai Junmai Ginjo Genshu."
There's also the "COWBOY YAMAHAI," a sharp, dry sake that was made after an American sake expert tried the Negaibito Yamahai Junmai Ginjo Genshu and said it went well with steak. They developed the COWBOY YAMAHAI with more acidity and umami in order to better suit a variety of cuisine, and in fact, it pairs with meat dishes so well that it won the gold medal at the International Wine Competition! Want a sake that goes well with seafood such as shrimp and crab? Don't miss out on the "FISHERMAN SOKUJO" as well.
There are many more breweries out there in Niigata Prefecture, which is one of the top sake production regions in Japan. Try comparing the sake at a wide selection of breweries, and enjoy the world of Japanese sake!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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