Not sure what sake to choose? Let international awards be your guide.
Sometimes it can be tricky when choosing a sake to know the differences between the different types. Bottles often don’t explain the difference between ginjo, daiginjo or junmai,among other classifications. Of these popular types, ginjo sake is made from rice that has been polished down so that 60% or less of the grain remains. Back in the 1980s, ginjo sakes were made for competitions and were not regularly consumed by the general public. But this light and fragrant classification of sake saw a boom thanks to the Dewazakura Sake Brewery and the release of its Oka Ginjo sake in 1980.
However, the company’s history goes back further than that. Dewazakura Sake Brewery has been around for well over 100 years: the brewery has been making award-winning sakes since it was founded in 1892. The company is located in Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture—a location that was chosen because of its ability to provide the conditions considered ideal for the production of rice, the essential ingredient in sake: hot summers, cold snowy winters and proximity to mountains.
The ginjo brewing process starts with polishing the rice down so that no more than 60% of the grain is remaining. It is then washed, steamed and cooled, then fermented slowly. Dewazakura Sake Brewery introduced the process of fermenting the sake at a lower temperature, resulting in a clean and delicate ginjo sake that can be enjoyed chilled. Furthermore, its sake is brewed in small batches, enhancing the crisp and clean flavour.
Dewazakura Sake Brewery believes sake is an integral expression of Japanese culture. In fact, its Oka Ginjo sake has been influential beyond being the spark that led to the ’80s ginjo boom. It was the first sake to join the lineup of Berry Bros. & Rudd, wine dealers to the British Royal Family, in 2011. Before that, the scent of Dewazakura’s ginjo sake helped inspire the scent of SK-II facial treatment products. It has continued to win awards, most recently a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge in 2018.
The brewery has also continued to make prized sakes beyond its flagship ginjo. Dewanosato Junmai sake is a slightly sweeter option, also with a light body, making it an excellent choice for those looking to get started with sake. Its flavours are rich but still subtle, with notes of both fruit and spice. Dewanosato is also an award-winning sake in its own right, taking gold at the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, and was the Champion Sake at the 2016 International Wine Challenge, the biggest sake competition in the world.
Regardless of which sake you choose, Dewazakura Sake Brewery has firmly established its reputation as a producer of high-quality sake for connoisseurs and novices alike.