About Japanese Wine

Wine in Japan is all about sake; while some write about it being brewed in the manner of a beer, we are defining it as a wine. It is a beverage of ancient traditions that continues to be enjoyed by the elite in Japan as well as the common man - as well as consumers in many countries.

Produced from rice, a typical sake has a pale straw or silver color with aromas ranging from nougat and coconut to melon, dried pineapple and honeyed nuts. Medium-full (alcohol is around 18%), these are best enjoyed with Asian or fusion cuisine.

Sake is generally served at room temperature or slightly chilled. A sake that is heated and then served is probably not of the highest quality.
Top Picks for Japan
220836
Kurosawa
Daiginjo Sake
Bright silver color. Attractive aromas and flavors of ripe pineapple and apples, spiced baked peaches, black walnut nougat, and bread and rice puddings with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, snappy fruit salad, banana and fig, and hint of spice nuts finish. A stylish sake with a great dichotomy of richness and ethereal lightness.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220465
Murai Family
Daiginjo Sake
Silvery emerald straw color. Fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of spiced caramelized apple, banana raisin muffin, hint of anise, and brown sugar with a round, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, long melon in sweet cream, toasted coconut, rain water, and spiced almond nougat finish. An elegant, beautifully poised Daiginjo that is a pleasure to drink.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220594
Ichishima
Ginnoyorokobi Competition Daiginjo Sake
Clear silvery straw color. Fruity aromas and flavors of honeyed melon, cinnamon spiced asian pear, lily and blueberry scone, and marinated mushrooms with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, intriguing, medium-long coconut milk, tapioca, and spiced mangos and pears in cream finish. A rich, complex and serene sake that is a pleasure to drink.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220469
Hakutsuru
Superior Junmai Ginjo Sake
Silvery straw color. Fruity aromas of pineapple and papaya in cream, green apple, and cashew nougat with a silky, vibrant, fruity medium body and a seamless, engaging, breezy fruit salad, banana, and pickled melon rind finish. A wonderfully bright and appetizing Junmai ginjo sake.
93 points $16 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220841
Okunomatsu
Daiginjo Shizukuzake 18th Generation Sake
Clear silvery straw color. Fruity, attractive aromas and flavors of asian pear, ripe pineapple, anise, and candied lavender with a silky, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, elaborate, very long sweet peach tea, almond nougat, coconut milk, and delicate spices finish. A fantastically flavorful and inviting sake with remarkably deep fruit and spice flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220840
Okunomatsu
Tokubetsu Junmai Sake
Pale straw color. Fruity, green aromas and flavors of asian pear and pineapple husk with a velvety, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a seamless, complex, long melon, tapioca, strawberry rice candy and yogurt, and chamomile tea with cream finish. A rich, rewarding Junmai with lots of clearly delineated flavors, character and impact.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220466
Kasumi Tsuru
Kimoto Extra Dry Sake
Bright silvery straw color. Aromas and flavors of toasted nut pastry and white chocolate strawberry with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and an even, captivating, medium-long tapioca and dried fruits finish. An elegant, nuanced sake that has a come-hither style.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220839
Shichiken
Junmai Ginjo Sake
Emerald straw color. Tropical aromas and flavors of banana custard, melon-apple sorbet, and seaweed salad with a supple, bright, off-dry medium body and a tingling, medium-long coconut milk, almond nougat, and spiced papaya and pear finish. A crisp, very fruity and easy drinking Junmai ginjo.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220462
Yoshinogawa
Gokujo Ginjo Sake
Pale silvery straw color. Aromas and flavors of pineapple, melon, and honeycrisp apple with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, medium-long chestnut honey on pistachios, banana-papaya sorbet, and sweet pepper and white mushroom finish. A very tasty, elegant and nuanced ginjo with wide appeal.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220467
Kasumi Tsuru
Yamahai Junmai Ginjo Sake
Pale white gold color. Complex, earthy aromas and flavors of bison grass, honeyed corn bread, green pineapple, banana and papaya, and floral talc and pomade with a satiny, bright, fruity medium body and a silky, delightful, long spiced pear, almond cookie, and pineapples and kiwis in sweet cream finish. A delicious, appetizing sake with great flavor and poise.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab