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GI Shinano Omachi, the first Japanese sake in Japan to receive GI two-stage designation, announced 15 certified sake types at a hotel in Tokyo on February 14, 2024

  • delicious Japan
  • February 29, 2024

At the venue, 22 types of sake were available for tasting, including 11 GI Shinano Omachi-certified sake and 11 GI Nagano-certified sake. Attendees enjoyed three kinds of GI Shinano Omachi, three types of GI Nagano, and dishes based on Mr. THUIZAT Xavier’s pairing suggestions. Along with introducing Mr. Xavier's tasting comments, participants tasted sake while sharpening their five senses and discovering new potential for Nagano's sake.

The venue was packed with over 100 media and liquor store representatives, and much attention was paid to talk sessions with brewers and pairings by France's top sommelier.

On June 30, 2023, the National Tax Agency newly designated sake produced in Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture, as “GI Shinano Omachi” as a Geographical Indication (GI) that protects regional brands of alcoholic beverages. The prefecture received the GI "Nagano" designation for the sake and wine produced in the prefecture in June 2021, and this is the first time in the country that an additional GI designation has been granted within the same region.

GI is a system in which only products that meet certain production standards and quality in a specific, correct region of origin can be exclusively labeled with the name of the area of origin. If recognized, the added value of the regional brand increases, differentiation from other products is enhanced, and consumer trust improves. GI also protects the brand and is advantageous for exports to Europe and other countries where GI is widespread.

Highly praised by France's top sommelier, THUIZAT Xavier

Mr. Xavier evaluated GI Shinano Omachi’s sake as follows.

Mr. THUIZAT Xavier

Best Sommelier of France 2022
Chef sommelier at the 5-star Hotel de Crillon in Paris

About the existence of GI Shinano Omachi:

“Nagano has always been a pioneer in the history of Japanese sake, pursuing quality, working hard, and innovating. And the fact that GI Shinano Omachi exists within GI Nagano is essential. This proves that sake reflects the place and land it serves. Because there are strict restrictions, this proves that there is a soul for sake. I feel a strong spirit of reflecting the terroir in sake.”

About the characteristics of GI Shinano Omachi's sake:

“I was surprised at how pure, delicate, and beautiful the scent was, with a strong personality. You could also feel the aroma of vegetables like radish, and it felt like it passed through your nose quickly, giving you a sense of delicacy.
A delicate fragrance also means elegance. I felt the elegance in the taste as well. Some of them were very fresh and crystal clear. They were crisp and fresh. I thought the sake from GI Shinano Omachi could be compared to the highest-ranking ballet dancers at the Opera House, the “Etoiles.” They have an image of being very delicate and light, with elegant steps. What I liked most about GI Shinano Omachi's sake was its haute couture-like elegance and delicate finesse in even the most minor details."

About GI Shinano Omachi's sake pairings:

“The name of the water in Shinano Omachi, “Onna Mizu,” is expected to be the delicate nature of the “Etoile” ballet dancers. This feminine side of sake can create a lot of excitement in various gastronomic situations. It can be paired with all vegetables, but I want to focus on artichoke. Artichoke is a complex ingredient in France, and suggesting a pairing with it is tricky. However, its vegetable aroma and firm texture complement GI Shinano Omachi's sake well.
Other options include lobster, ancient French tomatoes, “Coeur de Boeuf,” and dishes of “John Dory.” I think it also goes well with fèvre cheese and oysters.
Why not try tasting world-class wines such as Blanc de Blancs Champagne and Grand Sauvignon white wine side by side? It’s a great experience!”