Sunday, January 23, 2011

Organic Japanese Sake

Joto Sake, an importer of artisanal Japanese sake, is launching "the first 100% Japanese, USDA-certified organic sake."   Chikurin “Karoyaka” Junmai Ginjo is made by the Marumoto Brewery in Okayama, founded in 1867. The name “Karoyaka” means “lightness.”  Their rice, Yamada Nishiki, is 100% certified organic rice and is also grown by the brewery itself, which is a rarity. Marumoto attained USDA organic certification in 2009, under the direction of Ecocert SA.

Kikusui also produces an organic sake but it is made with organic cooking rice that is grown in the U.S. and shipped to Japan. SakeOne, in Oregon, also produces an organic sake but it too is made with rice grown in the U.S.  The Karoyaka is one of the only organic sakes made from sake rice grown in Japan.

Why so little organic sake?  Well, due to the nature of rice growing in Japan, much is grown on hillside terraces, and water and such from the top will filter down the hills.  So, to be organic, all of the neighbors above you would need to be organic as well, or it would simply defeat your efforts to be organic.  So lots of effort must go into the endeavor of being organic, and it is taking time for rice growers to move in that direction, though you are likely to see more in the future.

I do hope to try this sake in the future, and will then report back on its taste. 

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