Six kinds of Fukushima Prefecture’s sake will be served to complete the feast at the annual Japan Night reception during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 — one of the events that VIPs from around the world attending the conference look forward to the most.
Fukushima, as one of the major rice-producing prefectures in Japan, is known for its flavorful sake, which relies heavily on the stable harvesting of quality rice.
At the Annual Japan Sake Awards 2018, one of the most prestigious sake competitions that dates back to 1911, Fukushima had 19 brands of sake take home the Gold Prize. Out of 850 entries submitted from across Japan, 232 were awarded the Gold Prize, and Fukushima, together with Hyogo Prefecture, topped the list of Gold Prizes by prefecture.
Fukushima has been the prefecture to win the most Gold Prizes for six consecutive years, marking a record since 1956 when records were first kept. It was also a product of Fukushima, the Okunomatsu Adatara Ginjo 2017 made by Okunomatsu Sake Brewery, a venerable sake manufacturer established in 1716, that was selected as the winner of the Champion Sake Award in the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 2018, out of a record number of 1,639 candidates in the sake category.
The Okunomatsu Adatara Ginjo, comprising a clean, fresh and balanced taste that has been highly evaluated internationally, will be served at the Japan Night event.
The brewery stands on the premises of about 12,000 square meters, almost as large as a baseball field, at the foot of Mount Adatara. Its sake is made using the mountain’s fresh subsoil water.
Five other sake brands to be served at the Japan Night include the Gold Ninki Junmai Daiginjo by Ninki Shuzo; Momo no Namida by Yamatogawa Brewery; Sparkling Toyokuni by Toyokuni Brewery; Issho Seishun Bessen Daiginjo by Akebono Brewery; and Aizu-miyaizumi Junmaishu by Miyaizumi-meijo.
The Gold Ninki Junmai Daiginjo has already gained international recognition after being served at the Nobel NightCap 2012, the final festivity of the Nobel Week organized by students. Ninkishuzo, located in Fukushima’s city of Nihonmatsu, takes pride in making sake through the traditional method of using wooden tools and Japanese-style pots. The local rice they use is well-suited for making sake because of the wide range of temperatures.
Momo no Namida (tears of a peach) is a liqueur made of locally produced peach juice and sake.
Fukushima is one of the major peach-producing areas in Japan. Peach orchards that were not able to deliver their peaches to customers across Japan in the spring of 2011 after the nuclear incident following the Great East Japan Earthquake inspired the liqueur, which overflows with a fresh peach scent.
Sparkling Toyokuni is the only sparkling sake to be served at the event. Taking a bronze medal at the 2017 IWC, its bubbly fruitiness is perfect for toasting. Toyokuni Brewery, established in 1862 in the town of Aizubange in the central part of Fukushima, sticks to the traditional funashibori (slow pressing) method without using a compressor.
Issho Seishun Bessen Daiginjo is one of the brands that won last year’s Gold Prize at the Annual Japan Sake Awards. With a name that can be translated as “youth for life,” it presents a light and fresh sweetness with a pleasant aroma.
Aizu-miyaizumi Junmaishu took first prize among the 456 entries of the Junmaishu category in the Sake Competition 2018, another large-scale sake competition that started in 2012. Junmaishu refers to a kind of sake made only with rice, rice koji (malted rice) and water with no added alcohol. It is often favored by sake lovers who enjoy the scent and taste of rice in their sake.