PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Asaya Vinegar's Yamanashi 5 Year Aged Wine Vinegar
Japan may be famous for its rice wine, but for over 60 years, Takaaki Amamiya, the founder of Asaya Vinegar, has been focused on creating a world-class wine vinegar made entirely from Japanese grapes. In keeping with that intention, he worked day and night to make a wine vinegar that is infused with Japanese food culture.
Quality is the first principle behind Asaya Vinegar's wine vinegar, made 100% from 10 different varieties of grapes from Yamanashi Prefecture. It's carefully aged for over 5 years to produce a fruity aroma, smooth yet gentle sour taste, mild acidity and a richness and fullness not found in other vinegars.
Located in the approximate center of Japan, Yamanashi Prefecture boasts Japan's largest grape production with 80% of its soil occupied by forest and a sharp contrast between its day and night temperatures. The grapes are of a high quality due to sun exposure, water, soil and cultivation technology. The depth and umami flavor of this vinegar come from the large variety of grapes used, while the mellow finish comes from the long aging time and double fermentation process.
Asaya Vinegar purchases its grapes from farmers in Koshu City, Yamanashi Prefecture and Fuefuki City, squeeze the juice, ferment it twice (first to create a wine mash by alcohol fermentation and then a wine vinegar by acetic acid fermentation), and finally it becomes a wine vinegar. This is aged for about 5 years to deepen the flavor and taste. The process takes a lot of time and effort from start to finish, but that is the commitment of Asaya Vinegar.
Step 1: Raw Material - A balance of 10 selected varieties of Yamanashi grapes are used to create flavor, depth and color.
Step 2: De-stem - The fruit of the grape is separated from the stem.
Step 3: Juice - The juice is squeezed from the fruit of the grape using a precise amount of pressure to maintain its flavor.
Step 4: Alcohol Fermentation - Wine yeast is added to the fruit juice to cause alcohol fermentation and to brew wine mash. No additives are included.
Step 5: Acetic Acid Fermentation, Long-term Aging - Acetic acid bacteria are added added to the wine mash, and wine vinegar is brewed and aged for over five years. The contents must be carefully handled so as not disrupt the fermentation process at any point.
Step 6: Completed - The final product is a purely domestic Japanese wine vinegar made without any additives.
They produce both a red wine vinegar (which was featured in our August Nourishing Essentials Care Package) and a white wine vinegar. The red wine vinegar features a mild acidity and a thick, deep taste while the white wine vinegar is characterized by a mellow sour flavor, full of grape-derived fruits and a rich taste.
Top left: Asaya Vinegar's Aged White Wine Vinegar
Top right: Asaya Vinegar's Red Wine Vinegar
Bottom left: Domestic Wine Vinegar
Bottom right: Foreign Wine Vinegar
Metric clockwise from top:
やさしい酸味: Gentle acidity
濃酵・濃厚: Thickness (concentrated fermentation)
コクの余韻: Afterglow (echoes of taste)
In addition to being used as a seasoning, these wine vinegars are also known for being good for the body given their high polyphenol content. Use them for cooking, in salad dressings or diluted in water (flat or sparkling) with a touch of juice or honey to create the perfect summer tonic. Your daily dose of energy, health and happiness!
Learn more about Asaya Vinegar at https://www.asayafoods.com/story