Niigata is one of the most premium places in Japan to grow rice, which is why they have the most and some of the best sake breweries in Japan. In our Niigata Rice Bundle, you get to try Niigata's most popular rice type as well as their brainchild, the Koshitanrei.
Their traditional sake rice strain is called Gohyakumangoku, a hard rice that is cold resistant making crisp, light and clean style sake. This is actually the 2nd most popular rice strain, being used in maybe northern prefectures, as it harvests early, and thrives at higher attitude.
Due to a shorter growing season, they do not traditionally make Yamadanishiki rice, which is considered the king of sake rice. Yamadanishiki is used in at least 33 prefectures for sake brewing!
You should get the typical Niigata Sake notes from Imayotsukasa Junmai Ginjo, light dry and crisp. Gohyakumangoku enhances these characteristics, added also some mild herbal notes.
Kiminoi Junmai Daiginjo Yamahai is a sake made from Yamadanishiki. This rice is not grown in Niigata, but try to see the difference between the 1st 2 sakes, and see if you still identify the core Niigata characteristics.
Lastly, you can try a sake made from rice crossbred from the 2 most popular rice strains. It is of high pedigree. Niigata took 15 years to develop a cross strain between these 2 rice, called Koshitanrei, which is suitable for Niigata's climate and brewing style.Compare and see if you can tell the similarity and differences from Sake 1 and 2.
1) Imayotsukasa Junmai Daiginjo
Rice: Gohyaku Mangoku
A gentle aroma of peaches, rose with hints of rainfall. Supremely elegant and pure in its flavors, with a light mouthfeel, and detailed structure throughout. Very clean, light and dry.
2) Kiminoi Junmai Daiginjo Yamahai
A soft and intuitive nose of stone fruit, rainfall, mineral and straw. The Yamahai method gently infuses this brew with notes of cedar and a playful gaminess. Elegant and soft on the palette, a clean finish with a soft umami.
3) Katafune Tokubetsu Honjozo
Rice: Koshitanrei - crossbred between Gohyaku Mangoku & Yamadanishiki
Smooth and rich, with intense flavour of butterscotch, green apple, red wet stone. Layered and vibrant, brilliantly balanced, and surprisingly complex.