The fine taste of the Nada sake comes from 'Miyamizu' mineral rich water, which was discovered during the Tenpo era (1830-1844) by Tazaemon Yamamura from the Uozaki-go district. Maiymizu is hard water high in calcium and potassium but low in iron, making it ideal for making rich, full-flavored sake.
Yamadanishiki rice is grown in the Banshu eastern Kansai plains. It has larger, softer grains than regular table rice and is starchy, which makes it particularly suitable for sake making. Grains of Yamadanishiki rice have hard starch cores. This means that when they are soaked in Miyamizu water, they dissolve slowly but do not lose their shape. It is said that this characteristic is the reason why Yamadanishiki produces such uniquely flavored sake.
The most essential factors for making pure sake are good grain polishing ability and low temperatures. In the five sake-producing districts in Nada, we use water from the river that flows from Mount Rokko into the sea to power rice-polishing water mills, thus allowing us to produce highly polished grains of rice, which is not possible with manpower alone. Furthermore, the combination of the cold winds, known as 'Rokko oroshi', and the influence of the inland sea makes for ideal weather conditions for brewing sake in winter.
Last but not least, the final ingredient for making fine quality sake is 'Toji' skilled brewery master. Much like the foreman in a factory, a brewery master is responsible for organizing and leading all those who work in the brewery. The brewery master's word is final; it is said that even the owner of a brewery cannot interfere with the master's brewing techniques. The master selects brewery staff and together they compete with other breweries to produce the best sake. The master's skills are passed down to the brewery workers, and then down again to future generations of workers.
Nada sake made under these four conditions is called 'Otoko-zake' (man's sake) because it is full-bodied and tastes rough on the tongue, giving it a somewhat 'manly' feel. However, in autumn, after the sake has been stored and allowed to mature over the summer, the quality improves and it acquires the requisite 'five tastes' of refined sake; sweetness, spiciness, sourness, bitterness, and simplicity. This refined sake is called 'Akibare' (clear autumn sky) as it has a clear taste. This is a characteristic unique to pure Nada sake that cannot be found elsewhere.