Six sakes with a French influence

 IWA 5 Sake

At the beginning of 2019, Richard Geoffroy left his position as chef de cave for Dom Pérignon Champagne after 28 years with the producer. In a move that surprised many, Champagne maker turned his hand to sake production in Japan.

Nestled in Tateyama in the Toyama Prefecture, his brewery is named after the site’s location – Shiraiwa. Putting forward his roots in Champagne, he has created IWA by blending, instead of using a single brew.

IWA 5 refers to the five elements involved in the orchestration of blending. There are three varieties of rice: Yamada Nishiki, Omachi, and Gohyakumangoku. As for the yeast, five strains are used in the production process. The other three elements are namely the origin of the rice, yeast propagation method (moto) and the regimes of fermentation.

According to the brewery, IWA 5 does not have a stable recipe, but is an experimental process reconsidered every year. It also states that the sake will evolve subtly from year to year.

Geoffroy enlisted renowned architect Kengo Kuma to design his brewery, while celebrated designer Marc Newson crafted the bottle packaging.

The brewery will open in January 2021. It sits on a line between mountain foothills and arable flat land, with access to pure local water, with some of the heaviest snowfall in the world. The sake is available to the Japanese market on a limited allocation.

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