- Mie (三重)
- Rice type
- Isehikari (伊勢光)
- Polishing rate (semaibuai)
- Alcohol content
- Amino acid level
Gensaka Junmai Ginjō Kaze-no-Miya (風の宮 伊勢光 純米吟醸酒) is made of Isehikari, a rice variety initially planted in the Shinryō rice fields of Ise Jingū (伊勢神宮), grown with organic fertilisers. It has a clear, pale greenish colour, a sweet ginjō aroma of mango, and a gentle hint of jasmine. The mild sweetness and the sharp bitterness leave an impression of lightness on the palate. Enjoying it from down to 5°C to room temperature (20°C) is recommended. Recommended food pairings are roast beef, takoyaki, matured cheese and other cold savoury dishes. It can be served in various containers, such as sake cups and wine glasses.
About the brewery
- Gensaka Shuzō
- Name in Japanese
- 346-2 Yanagihara, Odai, Taki District, Mie 519-2422
元坂酒造株式会社｜酒屋 八兵衛｜元坂酒造 清酒 酒屋 八兵衛のホームページへようこそ. 三重の造り酒屋。お酒は幻の酒米伊勢錦を使用しております。伝統と新しい味温故知新の精神でおいしい酒をお届けします。www.gensaka.com
Around 60% of the company's sake is sold within Mie Prefecture. It is available at restaurants, bars, hotels, and souvenir shops in areas popular with tourists, such as Ise-Shima, the location for the 2016 G7 Summit. The remaining 40% is distributed outside Mie by shops specialising in craft sakes. Annual production currently stands at around 900 koku (162,35 litres). A total of five people are engaged in sake brewing: company president Gensaka Arata, managing director Gensaka Shinpei, and three full-time employees.
The Odaicho district of Mie Prefecture boasts abundant nature and has even been designated an Eco Park by UNESCO. The Sakakibara area, where the company is located, is on the fluvial terrace of the central stretch of the Miyagawa River. This geography has been used to construct numerous small terraced rice fields. In the company's domain, which can be viewed from the storehouse, the firm has resumed the cultivation of "Isenishiki," Japan's oldest variety of sake rice and one that had previously been extinct.
Isenishiki was discovered in the former village of Seiwa (now Takicho), and pilgrimages to Ise Grand Shrine, Japan's most sacred shrine, led to its cultivation throughout the country. It is also an ancestor of the "Yamadanishiki" variety, currently the most popular type of sake rice.
Unlike today's main rice varieties, for which specific cultivation attributes have been achieved through selective breeding, Isenishiki, which has hardly changed from its original form, grows tall and is apt to fall. Nevertheless, around twenty years of trial and error has resulted in approximately 15 tonnes per year, some produced by farmers the company has concluded contracts with. This corresponds to around 15-20% of the rice used for one season of sake brewing, and the company offers three products made from the rice. Sake brewed from Isenishiki has a delicate taste but also contains depth. As it matures, the level of umami increases and various aromas from the rice begins to be emitted.
At the working lunch held on the first day of the Ise-Shima Summit, which took place in the early summer of 2016, a pure (i.e. containing no added alcohol or sugar) Sakaya Hachibei-branded sake made from Isenishiki rice and brewed by the yamahaimoto (山廃酛) method was served as an accompaniment to the meal. This embodies all the carefully developed ideas over many years, namely, Isenishiki (伊勢錦) rice, the yamahaimoto brewing method, and the "meal-accompanying sake" concept that could be enjoyed in this way by a wider audience.