Sake Q&A - Shirataki Sake
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Sake Q&A

Q

What’s the difference between Junmai, Junmai Ginjo,and Junmai Daiginjo?

A

Sake produced with distilled alcohol cannot be labeled Junmai, or “pure rice” sake made only with rice, water, yeast, and koji.

Q

At what temperature should I drink Junmai, Junmai Ginjo,and Junmai Daiginjo?

A

Junmai Daiginjo and Junmai Ginjo should be enjoyed well-chilled (5-10°C, 41-50°F). Junmai can be enjoyed lightly chilled, at room temperature, or warm up to 45°C/113°F.

Q

What is nihonshu-do, or the sake meter value?

A

The sake meter value (SMV), displayed as a plus or minus figure on the label, indicates the sweetness or dryness of the sake. The figure is arrived at using a device for measuring residual sugar, as a hydrometer is used in winemaking. Sweet sake registers a minus figure, and dry sake a plus figure.

Q

Is sake aged like wine? Is there such a thing as “vintage” sake?

AIn general, sake is not aged but intended for consumption soon after purchase. Stored in a cool, dark place, a bottle will last from six to twelve months with no loss of flavor. There are exceptions, some labels are aged deliberately. There is no such thing as vintage year in the world of sake.

Q

Can sake be served with foods, as wine is?

AAbsolutely. Feel free to experiment and discover your favorite matches. As a general guideline, sake is a wonderful accompaniment to fish and other light dishes. Premium sake also pairs well with bite-size servings of strongly flavored snacks and delicacies.

Q

Are different varieties of rice used to produce sake, as grapes are for wine?

AYes, indeed. About 65 varieties of rice are designated as sake rice, and some are more prized than others. Like grapes, different rice strains grow best in particular regions.

Q

How should sake be stored?

ASake should be stored in a cool, dark place. Refrigeration is best, although not absolutely necessary except for unpasteurized sake. Once a bottle is opened, we suggest finishing it within two or three hours, which isn’t too difficult if you have friends over. If you simply cannot finish it all, store the bottle in the refrigerator and drink the remainder within the next two days. Once opened, premium sake begins to oxidize and lose its flavor. If for whatever reason an unfinished bottle sits in the refrigerator or pantry for longer than three days, consider using it for cooking.