SO I recently attended a sake appreciation session, organised by Beam Suntory Asia, at World of Wines.
I am pretty much unstudied when it comes to sake and was definitely amazed by the complexity in making sake.
While the complexity may easily faze anyone, here are the 4 key things I learnt which will prove useful when choosing your prized bottle of sake, and deciding whether to serve it warm or chilled.
1. Rice Variety
Amongst the myriad of sake rice varieties available, there are 4 preferred/most commonly used by brewers: Yamadanishiki, Gohyakumangoku, Miyamanishiki and Omachi of which,
Yamadanishiki – Known as the Queen of sake rice as it produces a more “feminine” brew – sweet, floral and light
Omachi – Known as the King of sake rice as it produces a more “masculine” brew – robust, bright and strong
2. Rice polishing ratio
If you google this (which you will more than likely hit wikipedia) This can get a little technical. Choose one that falls into a category of Junmai Daiginjo – which means that the sake is “pure”.
Some brewers also fortify their sake by adding alcohol from a separate type to the brew, however this is not an indication of it being less luxurious, or of a lesser quality. Brewers sometimes fortify the sake to enhance the aroma, or taste of the sake. Think of it as adding layers to the flavour profile of the sake.
Alkalinity and water source is obviously one of the things that would affect the resulting brew. Depending on the mineral content, the sake may appear yellowish or crystal clear, and may be “drier” or sweeter.
4. Maturation temperature
Sake is requires between 9 – 12 months to mature. Depending on the temperature at which it is allowed to age in will determine if the sake is best served warm or chilled.
I know I could’ve gone more into everything about sake, but for a newbie, I think this is a good starting point to depart on your sake journey.
To find out more about sake, check out Beam Suntory Asia on their Facebook page
I hear they organise food pairing and appreciation sessions, so be sure to like them to receive updates in your feed.