Friday, November 18, 2022

LeDomduVin: Juyondai Sake

Juyondai Sake

Recently, I have been buying and serving a few sakes, more notably from "Juyondai", a well-known and estimated brand in the medium-to-high price range. I have previously posted a few pictures of the Juyondai Sakes that I have served, with brief descriptions, yet, I wanted to consolidate them into one post, to develop a little more on the subject of Sake (*) and this particular brand.  

Briefly, what is Sake? 

For those who are unacquainted with this beverage, Sake can be pretty hard to understand, as it is often categorized as a spirit, while it is not distilled and only contains about 13-17% of alcohol, so, it seems closer to wine, right? And yet, it goes through a brewing process like beer. So, what is it then? A spirit? A wine? A beer? 

Well... It is definitely not a beer. It may have the texture of certain spirits, and because it is usually served in a small ceramic glass, it might easily be mistaken for a clear spirit, such as Vodka, Gin, or Rhum. Yet, on the nose and palate, it smells and tastes more like wine.  

Sake is an alcoholic beverage brewed primarily from rice and water, similar to white wine in appearance, ranging from almost transparent to slightly yellow.  

"The term “sake” is often used in Japan to denote alcoholic beverages in general, including wine, beer and whisky. Sake itself is also called “Nihon-shu” or “sei-shu.” The element “shu” in these words is written with the same Chinese character as “sake” (酒). This character has the readings “sake,” “zake” or “shu.” “Nihon” means Japan, so “Nihon-shu” refers to the traditional alcoholic beverage of Japan. The “sei” in “sei-shu” means clear." - Courtesy of A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Sake

In terms of chemical composition, sake extract (consisting mostly of residual sugars) contains a comparatively high percentage of glucose and significant levels of nitrogenous components and amino acids, but little organic acid, compared to beer and white wine.  

In terms of taste, sake is rather mild with little acidity, bitterness, or astringency. It is often softer, silkier, and more delicate than beer and white wine. Therefore, the pleasant taste of Sake cannot be characterized as sweet, acidic, bitter, or astringent, the word "Umami" is used instead. 

Umami is often described as “savoriness” (sweet and salty at the same time, if you prefer). It is one of the 5 basic tastes (as shown in the picture above).  And, compared to white wine and beer, sake is richer in amino acids and peptides that produce "umami". 

Yet, most sake, in general, and more especially the type of sake known as Ginjo has wonderfully fruity aromas on both nose and palate, and therefore, taste. Consequently, in general, most people speak about the level or degree of sweetness when tasting sake, rather than Umami.   

Basically, Sake is made from Japanese rice and water, going through a specific brewing technology designed to produce both "umami" and fruity flavors from rice.

How is Sake made? 

As a visual is worth a thousand words (and is often clearer to understand), here is one to help you understand how Sake is made.


Juyondai Chotokusen Banshu Yamadanishiki Junmai Daiginjo 

Work in Progress... 👀

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