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SAKE Spring is coming

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The inaugural “SAKE spring” sake festival will be held in Kyoto on 15th and 16th April. The media launch took place at Kyoto’s Taizoin-temple on 6th April.

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SAKE Spring will receive 45 up-and-coming sake breweries from Aomori prefecture in north to Fukuoka prefecture in south, offering 150 different sakes. This will be accompanied by excellent local food produced by famous Japanese, Asian and Western style restaurants.   

 Kyoto has often been a trend leader in Japan. In organizing this event,  Nozomi, Inc. decided on Kyoto to reach “younger generation” and “women with higher sensitivity for latest information”.  

 On behalf of sake breweries taking part in this event, chairman of Asahi Shuzo (famous for “Dassai”) Hiroshi Sakurai and chairman of Fushimi Sake Breweries Association (representing all Fushimi area sake breweries) Tokubee Masuda spoke about their current work.

 Mr Sakurai reports that the consumption of Dassai has spread beyond Japan to the global market. Every year New York’s pop-up “Dassai bar” is packed, despite the $90 entry fee. This summer, under the collaboration of “Chef of the Century”, restauranteur Joël Robuchon, “Dassai Bar Par Joël Roubuchon” will open Paris. Since his first visit to Japan in 1976, Robuchon has been influenced by Japanese cuisine and visits Japan several times a year. Robuchon feels that his French fare is more suitable to Dassai than the Japanese cuisine that Japanese chefs produce, so he was keen on the Dassai collaboration. This implies that there is more and more opportunity for sake and Western food pairings.

 The number of categories, age, temperature difference and more mean sake has limitless diversity. Mr Masuda, who is also the chairman of Masudatokubee-shoten (which produced the first Japanese sparking doburoku sake) disclosed that he is thinking of launching Koshu, a sake aged for over 50 years.

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Nowadays, “food pairing” and “diversity” are key components of the sake industry. Pairing with Japanese food is inevitable, but there is a growing focus on pairing with other foods is growing. Unique sakes with full of characteristics are created by a variety of methods, including time, place and opportunity. However at Sake Experience Japan, we believe that one aspect of sake should be added: “value coming from elimination”. This is completely contrary to the philosophy of winemaking, where value is increased by addition, such as ageing in an oak barrel, blending several grape varieties, or gaining concentration by lower yield. These process is the procedure of to add values.

However an essential procedure of sake is polishing the rice, following the Zen mindset of eliminating the unnecessary as much as possible. Because of this procedure, sake is valued for purity and delicacy, rather than complexity which is valued in wine.

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SAKE spring showcases the diversity of sake and provides the opportunity to compare sakes paired with both Japanese and international foods. We have no doubt that it will be an exceptional experience for both sake enthusiasts and sake novices.

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