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- Product Specification of Geographical Indication "三重（Mie）"
No.Ⅰ Matters relating the characteristics of liquor which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin
- (a) Characteristics of liquor
In general, the sake of Mie has warm taste and mellow taste.
Firstly, the mouth feels deliciously smooth texture that gives rich flavor, however, both sweetness and bitterness is so mild that warm taste, regardless of the temperature of the liquid, spreads in the mouth. At the same time, fresh acidity runs into the nose calmly like waves lipping a sand beach and settles in the back of the throat with a smooth finish as if the act of swallowing is not necessary.
For instance, with low-fat and simple-taste food, such as fish and shellfish, the sake moderately highlights the taste of the food as their umami blends, and the smell of the food is neutralized by fresh acidity. Thus, the sake goes well with shellfish and crustaceans in particular.
- (b) Essential attribution of its geographical origin to characteristics of liquor
- (1) Natural factors
Mie Prefecture is located in the eastern side of Kii Peninsular, which finds itself almost in the center of the Japanese archipelago, and mountains higher than 1,000 meters, including Kii Mountains and Suzuka Mountains, stretch from the north to the west. The prefecture faces Ise Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the east to the south.
While the climate is mild in summer due to the Kuroshio current flowing in the Pacific Ocean, it is cold in winter as dry and chilly winds, called the “Suzuka downdraft” and the “Nunobiki downdraft,” blow from the northeast over Kii Mountains and Suzuka Mountains. Especially, Iga Basin, situated relatively inland, sees large temperature differences. In addition, snow accumulated in Suzuka Mountains during winter and rainwater that falls and stays in Kii Mountains, one of the most rainy regions in Japan, supply the entire Mie Prefecture with excellent water for brewing.These climate and rich water resource form the warm and rich quality of sake in Mie.
- (2) Human factors
Ise Shrine is located in Mie, which has attracted a great number of worshippers from all over Japan since the Edo era as “a pilgrimage to Ise.” As the sake that welcomed such worshippers, sake-making became quite popular in Mie
Mie, facing Ise Bay and the Pacific Ocean, is blessed with diverse marine resources, and was granted the role to present mainly marine products, called “Nie (sacrifice),” to the Imperial Court from the ancient time to the Heian era (from the 8th to 12th Centuries). Especially, abalone is a marine specialty of Mie. It is said that Mie’s abalone is so delicious that Yamato Hime No Mikoto, the princess of the 11th Emperor Suinin, ordered it to be offered every year. The sake of Mie has developed as a kind of sake that goes well with such rich seafood.
In recent years, research activity is vigorously ongoing, such as development of original sake yeast, in cooperation with Mie Prefecture Industrial Research Institute. Furthermore, the initiatives include development of a brewing technology suitable to the climate of Mie, information exchange among young engineers at the “Mie Prefecture Seishu Study Group” and learning the latest brewing technology by holding sake-brewing seminars in an attempt to enhance the quality of sake-making engineers, etc.
No.Ⅱ Matters relating the raw materials and production method of liquor
- (a) Ingredients
- (1) Only domestically produced rice, which is limited to the grade 3 or higher rating under the Agricultural Products Inspection Act – Act No. 144 of 1951, is used for rice and rice koji.
- (2) Only water collected in Mie Prefecture is used to brew “Mie”.
- (3) Only ingredients for “Sake” stipulated in Article 3-7 of the Liquor Tax Act (Act No. 6 of 1953) are used. However, among the ingredients for sake stipulated in Article 2 of the Enforcement Order of the Liquor Tax Act, ingredients other than alcohol, which is limited in the case where the weight of alcohol does not exceed 10% of the weight of rice, including rice koji, among ingredients, shall not be used.
- (b) Production method
- (1) Sake manufactured in accordance with the production method of sake stipulated in Article 3-7 of the Liquor Tax Act in Mie Prefecture.
- (2) Sake must satisfy the requirement for manufacturing method quality specified in the right-side column of the table in paragraph 1 of the Labelling Standards of Seishu Manufacturing Method Quality (Public notice No. 8 of November 1989 from the National Tax Agency).
- (3) In the process of sake brewing, sake must be stored within Mie Prefecture.
- (4) Bottling shall be completed with containers planned to be delivered to consumers within Mie Prefecture.
No.Ⅲ Matters relating management to maintain the characteristic of liquor
In order to use geographical indication (GI) “Mie,” the liquor that uses the GI is required to be confirmed by the following association (hereinafter referred to as “the control body”) pursuant to guidelines for work implementation, prepared by the control body as to whether the relevant liquor satisfies “1. Matters relating the characteristics of liquor which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin“ and “2. Matters relating the raw materials and production method of liquor” by the time the relevant liquor is shipped to places (excluding places subject to the provision of Article 28, paragraph 1, of the Liquor Tax Act) from its brewing place (including places deemed as brewing places with the permit to produce liquor by the provisions of Article 28, paragraph 6 or Article 28-3, paragraph 4 of the Liquor Tax Act).
Name of Control Body: Mie Sake Brewers Association
Address: 141-4, Otani-cho, Tsu-shi, Mie Prefecture
No.Ⅳ Matters relating liquor classes
Seishu / sake (Article 3, Item 7 of the Liquor Tax Act)