Tag Archives: Henan Province

Expiration Date: 10,000 Years Ago

9,000 years ago people in today’s Yangtze Valley, China cultivated wild rice—though perhaps Rice is like the dog of the plant kingdom, in that it practically begged to be domesticated. The plant itself has a remarkable ability to thrive in either dry or flooded fields. In addition, it mass polinates via the wind.

Today, there are over 110,000 varieties of Rice, although only Oryza sativa var. japonica is ever used for making alochol—the oldest of which (made actually 10,000 years ago) is a Rice wine made also with fruit and honey.

Dogfish Head teamed up with molecular biologist Patrick McGovern to re-brew this ancient alcohol in 2006. The result is their Chateau Jiahu—named after the site in China’s Henan Province where the archeological evidence turned up.

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“Vile Rice Wine”

Sake is a wine that is made from fermented rice, instead of grapes. It is about 8,000 years old, having originated in the Henan Province of China.

Contrary to popular belief, Sake does not need to be served warm. In fact, it should not be served warm! This is a marketing gimmick that helps poor-quality sake go down more smoothly—just like the salt and lime with tequila (spoiler alert!).

In 1896 somebody at the New York Times had the pleasure of reviewing Sake for the first time. They described it as a, “Vile rice wine,” with a, “markedly poisonous effect.” It would seem that in the last 123 years we have come quite a ways in appreciating this unique beverage…except for drinking it warm!