In the Yamaguchi prefecture tucked away on Japan’s main island, Honshu, is the Nagayama Honke, a brewery home to the delicious Taka Sake. Established in 1888, the brewery is now run by fourth generation owner and master brewer, Takahiro Nagayama. Since taking over the reins, the Taka brand has become popular for its tropical nose that’s balanced with robust and citrus flavours, a result of Nagayama’s slow, careful brewing. We speak with him to find out more about the brand and sake on the whole.
Sake used to be cheap. It was a product of too much filtering and added distilled alcohol. Of course, things have changed. To keep and break tradition is equally important.
The main style of owes to the water and limestones that are 100 metres beneath the seabed. The water, unaffected by weather, has a strong fermentative component that gives rise to a dry, good structure in the sake.
We currently grow Yamada Nishiki, a short grain rice that absorbs water and dissolves easily. I like it for its great umami content.
The rice we use to brew sake is different from what we eat. The pure starch component is separate from the protein and fat, making it easy to isolate the starch, which is converted to sugar for fermentation.
Aged and fresh sake are equally good. While sake is usually drunk fresh, maturing sake tends to give a rich aroma and sweetness to the alcohol.
Unlike red wine, sake goes well with any food, especially seafood. It shares the same succinic acid as oyster and clams.
It is better to drink premium sake chilled. The optimum temperature to drink ours is at around 15 degrees. But if you prefer it warm to go with meat and grilled fish, 40 to 45 degrees would be good.
Taka Sake is available at The Beam Cellar, 229 Mountbatten Road, 01-03 Mountbatten Square