A Sake that Highlights “Umami” (Tuesday, March 1st, 2011)
Shata Brewery makes its home in Ishikawa Prefecture’s Hakusan City, a region that used to be called Kaga. This area is known for its business and culture, which bloomed under the governance of the Kaga Maeda clan back in the feudal period. At that time, the Shata family grew rapeseed and produced oil from this plant, but in 1823 the Kaga Maeda clan permitted them to brew sake. Since then, they have stuck to their motto of: “To keep brewing distinctive and savory sake unshaken by the stream of time.”
The flavor of Shata Brewery’s sake is defined as tasteful and full-bodied. Supervised by one of the most distinguished toji (brewmaster) groups in Japan, Noto Toji, the brewery aims to produce sake that can be enjoyed with food, especially their local Kaga cuisine. “Kaga cuisine is traditionally known for its savoriness and complex flavor. Some good examples are Jibu-ni (simmered duck and vegetables with starchy sauce), Buri Daikon (simmered yellowtail and daikon radish), and Buri Shabu (yellowtail shabu shabu hot pot), and all of them bring out each ingredient’s savoriness and maximize the ‘umami’. Our sake is crafted to go particularly well with such flavors,” says Mr. Kazunari Shata, managing director of the brewery.
Also, the most important feature of Shata Brewery is that it was a pioneer in reviving the traditional yamahai style brewing in the late 1960s. Yamahai refers to a method that allows for the natural development of lactic acids in the sake, which usually takes over a month, is considered extremely difficult and requires extra care and effort. During this period of slow development, the sake is exposed to more airborne yeast and bacteria, which adds a much fuller flavor. Today, yamahai is the brewery’s signature style and they are proud of producing the largest quantity of top quality yamahai sake.
Currently, the two Shata Brewery sakes, Tengumai Yamahai-Junmai and Tengumai Umajun are available in the U.S. As described earlier, both sakes match best with local flavors, but they can be great with even western foods such as smoky barbecued pork and beef as well as hearty stews. Why not try being adventurous and creative by enjoying this sake with umami in your own way?
60-1 Bomaru-machi, Hakusan-shi,
Ishikawa, JAPAN 924-0823
Three things you should know about Shata Brewery
1. Shata Brewery employs the Noto style brewing method that was developed in the local area. Brewmaster Kenji Okada is a young and rising Noto Toji, and the staff brewers who support him are experienced veterans. The unique dynamic of this team helps to produce conventional yet innovative, quality sake.
2. The water they use is underground water coming from Hakusan Mountain located near the brewery. Snow falling on the mountain melts and runs deep into the ground, and 100 years later gushes out of the foot of the mountain. This medium-hard water, including nicely balanced minerals, is perfect for brewing their full-bodied sake.
3. Sake and the byproducts of sake brewing are known to be good for health and beauty. People notice that many of the staff at Shata Brewery, both male and female, have smooth, white skin. This proves how their sake contributes to beautiful skin.