Kanpai ! with sake from Niigata [Rumiko Essay] 入力者: Rumiko Obata
|◆◇◆Kanpai ! with sake from Niigata◆◇◆|
The pride of Niigata, without a shadow of a doubt, would be its sake.
The 97 sake breweries in Niigata have been working for generations to maintain its title as the Kingdom of Jizake(regional sake).
The majority of the breweries are small, where sake is still produced by hand.
However, the strong demand for their sake has shipped their product to connoisseurs all across the globe.
Along with the strong influence Japanese cuisine has had in many countries, sake has found a solid presence as well.
The word jizake, or regional sake, is being used to distinguish the difference between their mass produced counterparts.
Many tasters have likened the characteristics of sake to that of wine.
There are even a select few who have an appreciation for a particular region.
In the midst of this newfound appreciation for jizake, sake from Niigata has been praised by many as having a gentle, delicate and smooth characteristic known as Tanrei.
it may not be long before Niigata is recognized as a region where quality sake is produced, likened to Bordeaux, Napa and Bourgogne in the world of wine.
Not limited to sake, nature and tested, age old techniques are usually at the center of a finely crafted product.
Niigata is blessed with an ideal climate for sake production, supplying brewers with pure water flowing from streams along snow capped mountains and an abundant supply of high quality sake rice.
The brewers then craft nature`s bounties into high quality sake with their age old brewing techniques.
The whole experience would be further enhanced by pairing this sake with regional cuisine.
Being from Niigata, I sincerely wish for people to appreciate the region along with its sake. It is said that jizake is truly appreciated when one has tasted it in the region where it was produced. It would be an honor if one day, people from across the globe would set foot on Niigata`s soil and enjoy our jizake paired with traditional regional cuisine.
Conveniently located and surrounded by the Sea of Japan, Niigata has the potential of becoming an important city in northeast Asia.
Niigata should not become a city of neon lights and imposing high rises.
It should be appreciated as a city where ears of rice wave gently in the wind, where fertile soil give birth to flavorful vegetables, where you can have a conversation with the stars come nightfall.
Niigata would make for an ideal Garden City, rather than a Metropolis.
It gives me much pride in thinking that this second, a bottle of sake from Niigata is being enjoyed by someone, somewhere in a country far, far away..
Our sake has crossed over the borders of many countries, and have left its tasters with a little tale of Niigata.
To my hope of Niigata gaining international recognition,
I raise my glass of sake.
by Rumiko Obata, from my essay published in the article of Niigata Nippo newspaper
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