From the sake archive, John writes: In any event, the winners of the four categories (junmai-shu, junmai ginjo, junmai daiginjo and yamahai/kimoto) were surprisingly unsurprising. They are all hyper famous, very well selling brands. And remember: the tasting was blind, and by 200 of their peers, i.e. dudes and dude-esses that make the stuff.
You’d think these folks if anyone would have their own opinions about what is good sake and not side with the masses. And you’d be right: they do, and they don’t. Which is why to me, what is surprising about them is that it’s no surprise.
The very famous brands of late are very famous because anyone – first time consumers and brewing world colleagues alike – think it tastes damn good. Note this is NOT a license for you to not bother to develop your own tastes but just drink what is famous. No! Do develop your own preferences, for sure. And do so with confidence. But at the same time, do not flee from famous brands just cuz everyone else likes them!
A short list of the winners is below. In truth, they could not have been scripted better. I mean, look at it. Best junmai daiginjo? Juyondai. Best junmai ginjo? Isojiman. Best junmai? Hiroki. However, the one thing I am not sure of is how many sake outside of the Hasegawa lineup were involved. Had I been there in the evening, I would know, but I could not hold out that long. Still, while it might have been heavy toward that distributor’s lineup, there were 790 the first day and 420 the second. So regardless, the winners have showed there mettle for sure.
Here are the results:
1. Juyondai “Ryugetsu” (Yamagata)
2. Ugonotsuki (Hiroshima)
3. Ho-o Biden (Tochigi)
4. Juyondai (a different junmai daiginjo)
5. Ugonotsuki (a different junmai daiginjo)
1. Isojiman (Shizuoka)
2. Hiroki (Fukushima)
3. Isojiman (a different junmai ginjo) (Shizuoka)
4. Kyokko (Tochigi)
5. Zaku (Mie)
1. Hiroki (Fukushima)
2. Zaku (Mie)
3. Aramasa (Akita)
4. Sharaku (Fukushima)
5. Meikyoshisui (Nagano)
Yamahai / Kimoto
1. Toyo Bijin Yamahai Junmai (Yamaguchi)
2. Yamagata Masamune Junmai Kimoto (Yamagata)
3. Hayaseura Yamahai Junmai (Fukui)
4. Ichinotani Yamahai Tokubetsu Junmai (Fukui)
5. Matsu no Tsukasa Kimoto Junmai (Shiga)