The largest river in the Kyushu region of Japan is the Chikugogawa. The abundance of pure, clean water in the Chikugo region is said to have given birth to one of the three largest sake-brewing regions in Japan; many breweries were born there. The brewer of Niwa no Uguisu (aka. “Garden’s Nightingale”) is Yamaguchi Shuzojo: located in northern Chikugo. The very first brewers of Yamaguchi Shuzojo loved to watch the Japanese nightingales in the garden playing in the water and drinking in the gardens. When the 6th generation family head Yamaguchi Risuke saw this, he made the decision to brew sake using that water.
The Nightingale is colored and positioned differently on every one of the Kura’s 17-20 annually-released sake. Tetsuo Yamaguchi (11th generation) explains “The first generation of sake brewers from my family enjoyed listening to the birds while drinking sake.” The brewery’s motto for their sake is: food comes first; sake comes second. When asked what makes Niwa No Uguisu so special, Tetsuo-san replied, “I can list three things that differentiate us from other breweries: rice, water and people.”
Class: Junmai Ginjo
Rice: Yamada Nishiki
Rice-Polishing Ratio: 60%
Brewery Location: Fukuoka
Food Pairings: Grilled fish, vegetable and meat dishes, yuzu kosho, sansho pepper seasoning, dashi-stock seasoned omlettes, Japanese-style simmered tofu and vegetables, herb-crusted grilled shrimp, dan dan noodles, vinaigrettes made with shoyu, garlic and ginger
Tasting Notes: This aromatic and fresh Junmai Ginjo sake smells like green melons and is vibrantly crisp and textured on the palate. Umami-rice flavors give way to a long, lingering finish that is perfect when served with food.