Introducing the world's first sake with an incredible 0.00% rice polishing. Yes, you read that correctly! In what is a world first, the clever boffins at Mottainai Shuzo (Château de Kura Japonais) have finally solved the perennial issue blighting the sake industry for decades and holding it back from certain world domination: Just how do you get rid of those pesky last few decimal points? Well fear not, as you can now enjoy this remarkable sake safe in the knowledge that absolutely all of the original grain has been obliterated, leaving no trace whatsoever of the awful, harsh flavours that, apparently, come from rice.
But just how did the makers of this frankly unbelievable sake pull-off this feat? Origin Sake received the following statement from their company president explaining exactly how they did it and why.
"Back in 2016, we realised that we were in a rut. Being honest, we knew we had been making pretty average sake for years. It wasn't necessarily bad, in fact our customers loved it, but it was ultimately just a bit too ricey to be taken seriously with today's more cosmopolitan consumers. For example, it was hampered with characteristics like versatility, and a weird tendency to taste good at a number of different temperatures. Furthermore, we had long suspected that its ability to pair well with virtually any cuisine meant that our customers were being denied the time-honored tradition of "trial and error" when pairing with food, sometimes with truly diabolical outcomes. The anguish they were missing out on with sake was abundant in other alcoholic beverages, like wine, and we knew this had to change.
What we finally realised was that, ultimately, the simple, pure, unadulterated ingredients of sake had been holding the industry back all along. Therefore, we laid out a plan to reinvent the wheel, to fix what wasn't really broken, but could definitely use a bit more je ne sais quoi. Over the course of the next 5 years, we tirelessly utilised all of our craft, skill and wisdom that had been honed to perfection over the centuries to try and come up with an altogether new and unique method of brewing that would lead us to our goal of sake perfection.
In the end, we abandoned this plan and simply left the rice polishing machine to its own devices. For two whole years it clattered away at full pace (#sustainability) until all we could hear was the sound of whooshing air from within. It was at that moment that we knew we had done it, and as polishing any further would have required the use of the Large Hadron Collider, we decided to commence brewing.
However, for some reason, we couldn't manage to get a successful fermentation with the remaining dust particles that we had carefully swept off the floor using an ancient technique called houki-souji. After much soul searching, and a holiday to France, our master brewer finally came up with the ingenious idea of using a new secret ingredient to help kick-start the yeast. Lo and behold, it worked, and after a Single Fermentation, sorry, simple fermentation, our masterpiece was finally ready for bottling.
When we first tasted it with our staff, the sake was almost completely intolerable to changes in temperature and seemed to lose all of its vitality if left open for any longer than 5 days. With results like that, we knew we were onto a world-beater!"
But one simply doesn't just release a sake of such grace and finesse without first considering its marketing, and Mottainai Shuzo were no exception. Therefore, by enlisting the aid of several foreign "experts" (those with a YouTube channel above 100 subscribers), extensive research was carried out to determine the best strategy of bringing this incredible flagship product to the market. The results were clear: traditional labels were best, and there was no need, whatsoever, to put obscure terminology from the lexicon of other beverages on the label.
But just what exactly did Mottainai Shuzo learn from hearing the opinions of their most valued customers? Again, Origin Sake was fortunate to receive the following statement:
"yappari, we decided to ignore the results of the expensive and elaborate think-tanks and instead ploughed on with our own idea of just slapping some random wine related jargon on the label. Like most people, we didn't know what terroir was, but we had heard it mentioned several times in sake related articles from wine writers, so we knew that it would be simply crazy not to include it. So, we did, and we are delighted to say that ALL our sake now comes with added terroir. The perception of value that this has added to our products has been a revelation, and it has meant that we now no longer feel the need to promote the merit of our products based on the completely unique, painstaking, and truly astonishing level of craft that goes into each and every bottle".
In order to achieve sufficient levels of terroir, gohyakumangoku was used - that's not the rice variety, rather the amount of rice required before polishing converted from tons into the traditional Japanese unit of measurement. The actual rice variety used was yamada-nishiki, locally sourced a mere 585 kilometres from the brewery, just two mountain ranges away, with a measly 4 degrees of latitude change. This close proximity to the brewery ensures a true reflection of the land is expressed with each and every dramatic swirl of your wine glass.
Now for the all-important food pairing: Considering its reassuringly expensive price tag (199,999.99yen, 180ml), it might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that it is the humble sembei (Japanese rice cracker) that gets our vote here at Origin. It's not so much that it's a particularly good match, but the makers have stated that they now have entire warehouses full of the stuff made from all the leftover rice bran that was accumulated during production. They noted that they would very much appreciate it if you could support them, and the local rice farmers, by buying just a few tons of it...
In conclusion, the scale of what has been achieved with this sake is, well, impossible to fathom. Although Mottainai Shuzo have stated firmly that the contents of their new sake will remain a tightly guarded secret, they were at least kind enough to reveal the name they have decided upon for its release. Of the numerous suggestions that were put on the table, the two initial front runners were said to be Budou Lover and I Can't Believe It's Not Wine. But as we all know, no good sake is complete without a catchy French-sounding (it's Latin) name. Which is why we here at Origin are just in awe of the modern, stylish, and most importantly, cryptic, name they finally decided upon: In vino veritas.