SAKES

BY FRANÇOIS CHARTIER

CHARTIER « MASTER BLENDER »

TIMELINE OF “THE NEW ART OF SAKE BLENDING” BY CHARTIER

In 2017, “Créateur d’harmonies” François Chartier developed Tanaka 1789 X Chartier’s first vintage (2017) project of Blend 001, thus creating “The new art of sake blending” in Japan and revolutionizing the production of Japanese sakes, using the principle of blending, as with grand crus wines from Bordeaux, or as it is the case with champagnes, sherry, ports, cognac and whiskies. In 2019, two years after the historical first blending for the Tanaka 1789 X Chartier project, other Japanese breweries became inspired by Chartier’s 1 + 1 = 3 aromatic synergy theory.

The concept of the “The new art of sake blending” was inspired by Chartier’s science of molecular harmonies – published in his best-selling book, Taste Buds and Molecules, which won the Best Cookbook in the World at the Gourmand World CookBook Awards in Paris in 2010 –.

His aromatic science, and his thirty five years traveling the world to analyze the greatest wines as well as other types of drinks, including sakes, allowed him to make new handcrafted sakes using a blending method which – as he written many times in his books and communicated many times in his conferences over the last decade –, augments, magnifies, and multiplies sakes through the magical skill of a “master blender” like Chartier.

Chartier presented his new concept of blending and his first Blend 001 – 2017, for the first time, in Montreal at the SOMM360 event in 2018. More than 300 of the world’s best sommeliers from 25 countries had gathered for the event. Since then, while Chartier was touring the world (Macau, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris…) to share his new aromatic theory of “The new art of sake blending”, media from around the world have noted this tsunami in the sake universe developed by Chartier in the land of the Rising sun.

In March 2020, the first vintage to be market (the 2017 was only an experimental vintage), from the Tanaka 1789 X Chartier project, Blend 001 – 2018 was scheduled for a worldwide launch, but Covid-19 pushed the official launch to November 2020 – but, notice to importers, the two artisanal handcrafted blended 2018 sakes by Chartier, Junmai Blend 001 and Junmai Daiginjo 002, are now available to be export worldwide.

Spain, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Luxembourg, Canada, Taiwan, and Macau are among the first countries where Blend 001 – 2018 will be available. Now, many other countries are looking to buy our sakes, especially since world renown wine writer Jancis Robinson praised Blend 001 – 2018 in an in-depth report on the Tanaka 1789 X Chartier project published in May 2020, as done also one of the top sommelier in Japan, Yoshinobu Kimura, from Sushi M restaurant in Tokyo.

The new art of sake blending”, by François Chartier.
Tanaka 1789 X Chartier, Miyagi, Japan

Unique blends

François Chartier learned the technique of blending by making his wines alongside the renowned Bordeaux oenologist Pascal Chatonnet. A long-time collaborator and partner of the “créateur d’harmonies”, Chatonnet is a master blender for some of the world’s most prestigious wineries, including Vega Sicilia in Spain, Château de Beaucastel (Perrin family) in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Château Cos d’Estournel in Saint-Estèphe, in the Bordeaux region.

François Chartier believes sake’s aromatic profile closely resembles that of the best white wines in the world, such as those from Burgundy and the Loire Valley. These wines offer elegance, freshness and lively acidity, and are very pleasant on the nose and in the mouth. Chartier is, therefore, developing this promising lead by using his aromatic science. He is working with the tôji (or toji in French and in English), the master sake brewer of Tanaka 1789, Morikawa San, a young man with a passion for research and experimentation.

Process

François Chartier’s goal is to obtain six new basic sakes for blending. To do this, he asked Morikawa San to modify or even adapt the usual brewing process. For example, he wanted to use the ancient and natural methods of initiating sake production called Yamahai and Kimoto, as they bring structure and complexity to the sake. Chartier also chose to use a blend of local rice (Kuro No Hana) for extra flavour and acidity, as well as the highly prized Toyo Nishiki rice, and a mixture of Miyagi B3 and Kyokai No7 yeast. Finally, in the process developed by Chartier, polishing the rice grains is limited. Less polishing is essential since the organoleptic compounds are concentrated in this husk (the bran). The Chartier approach makes it possible to bring more aromatic notes and complexity to the sake, with dense umami at the end of the process.

1 + 1 = 3

François Chartier thus obtains a new range of basic sakes, which he then uses in his innovative blending process. The result is spectacular: the blending multiplies, enhances and amplifies the aromas of the different original batches. Chartier thus proves that the addition of two elements (1 + 1) is more than the simple sum of its parts (2), as it allows the creation of a genuinely new third product. The aromatic science of our flavour specialist has once again proven itself: 1 + 1 = 3!

The revolutionary new range of sake developed, selected and blended by François Chartier is born. It is a delight for wine lovers, who are often looking for a certain aromatic richness. For sake lovers, it is a real pleasure to rediscover the original soul of the traditional drink, but with increased complexity and depth.

Tanaka 1789 x chartier

François Chartier presents a first sake created for Tanaka 1789 X Chartier from a unique blend. The notion of blend is innovative, not to say downright audacious in the highly codified universe of this venerable beverage; once again, the «Créateur d’harmonies» innovates!

#SAKEGRAPHY

Welcome to the fascinating and evolving world of sake. Be part of the new sake “r-Evolution”!
“Créateur d’harmonies” François Chartier and sommelier Nicolas Roché have developed a sake community space for sommeliers and drink business professionals.

Tanaka 1789

Daring as always, François Chartier is revolutionizing the world of sake.