Pure water and excellent rice; these are the ingredients at the base of Sakè, a typical alcoholic Japanese drink. Which is basically obtained from the distillation of fermented rice and - precisely - the addition of water; two raw materials that are rich in Italy. This is why Mitsuto Yagyu, a Sakè productor under the Librom brand (which is situated in the Japanese Fukuoka Prefecture) has decided to take a trip to Italy in search of the two elements that are at the base of his drink. This is particularly important since, as a former football player, he has always felt a great admiration for the country.
In order to gain a better knowledge of the territory, Yagyu has decided to contact Yuko Matsuzaki, a fellow Japanese citizen. Yagyu had previously seen Yuko in the Japanese media - where she was sponsoring her comfortable shoes – before meeting her in person through common acquaintances.
It is precisely to Matsuzaki, an appreciated shoe designer who’s been living in Italy for 30 years and who is now producing shoes under her own brand Seishou, that Yagyu has presented his project. The two Japanese entrepreneurs have had an exchange of opinions, especially focused on the possibilities that the Sakè producer could have in Italy. Hence came the decision to take a trip on the Piedmont distilleries by organizing a small trip, keeping him company during his search for the ideal partners and place where the drink could be produced.
The main destination of the journey were the beautiful Langhe Hills, whose sweet hilly slopes are famous for their vineyards and for being home to the best Italian wine brands, which are famous all over the world: Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Barbera and the refined Moscato, as well as distilled drinks, are indeed produced between the Piedmont provinces of Asti and Alba.
This is the reason why Matsuzaki and Yagyu have visited several distilleries, with a special focus on the Montanaro, where they have met a master distiller and visited their distillery structure.
The Montanaro distillery was been born thanks to the work of Francesco Trussoni, an Alchemy Doctor originating from Gallo d’Alba, who had, in 1885, the genial intuition to create the Barolo Grappa, which was going to be the first single grape variety in history. In 1922, the business passed under the guidance of Mario Montanaro and his wife Angela Trussoni, together with their son Giuseppe, who were the perfecters of an intermittent steam distillation system which was unique for those times. From that moment on, across the decades, the business has kept on ranking among the world top players in the traditional distillation sector.
As of today, the Italian Librom Sakè may also make its appearance among the different varieties of grappa, brandy, herb liqueurs, Barolo Chinato, bitter and Vermouth…
In the meantime, Mitsuto Yagyu and Yuko Matsuzaki, together with the group who accompanied them during the journey, have concluded their interesting trip with a stay in Monforte d’Alba at the Villa Beccaris Charme Hotel.