HOW TO ENJOY SAKE
A BIT OF HISTORY
Daiginjo-shu is a form of ginjo-shu made with even more highly polished rice from which at least 50% of the outer layer of the grain has been removed. It has an even more refined taste and stronger ginjo-ka than ginjo-shu.
This high end and even more fragrant sake, like normal gingo, is often served chilled.
Ginjo-shu is made with rice grains from which more than 40% of the outer layer has been removed by milling. Fermentation occurs at lower temperatures and takes longer. Distilled alcohol equivalent to up to 10% of the weight of the polished rice may be added.
It has a fruity fragrance, called ginjo-ka, with a light, that is low in acidity. “Light” does not simply mean “mild” or “diluted.” The sake should also have a smooth texture (mouth feel) and a good aftertaste.
Honjozo is pretty similar to junmai except that a small amount of additional alcohol is added to lighten up and smooth out the flavor of the sake. This also makes it a bit more fragrant but rather than asserting the aroma and taste of the sake itself, it helps to bring out the taste of food..Like junmai, the rice must have a degree of milling of at least 70%.
PURE RICE STYLE
The best of the best, Junmai daiginjo-shu (literally big ginjo) is regarded as the highest-grade sake. Brewed with very highly polished rice (to at least 50% see below) and even more precise and labor intensive methods. The best products in this class deliver a good blend of refined taste with acidity and umami.
Very special brew category.
Brewed with labor-intensive steps, sometimes trading machinary for traditional tools and methods, using highly polished rice (at least 60%) and fermented at colder temperatures for longer periods of time.
Junmai ginjo sake tends to be light and refined, often with distinctively fruity aromas present.
Junmai-shu is made only from rice, koji and water, highlighting the flavor of the rice and koji more than other varieties. The rice polishing ratio is 70% or less (remember : the less the better).
Alcohol Added Style
Rice, Water, Yeast, Koji
& Distilled Alcohol
Rice Milling Percentage
50 % OR LESS
60 % OR LESS
70 % OR LESS
No Min. Milling
Pure Rice Style
Rice, Water, Yeast, Koji
In the same way there are some types of sake that taste best when served chilled. The highly aromatic ginjo-shu is best served cold or simply hinata-kan, that is “sun bathed" to about 30°C / 85°F, to avoid upsetting the delicate balance between its fine bouquet and flavor by overheating.
Served at room temperature, warm, hot, chilled, ice-cold or iced, Japanese sake can be enjoyed in myriad ways. Try them out yourself and discover which you think is best!