About Japanese Wine

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

Asahi Shuzo  Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo Sake
97 points
White gold color. Aromas and flavors of melon and pineapple relish, yuzu shrub, hint of tarragon and bean sprout, and mirin with an vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a complex, very long pineapples and starfruit in sweet cream, almost-ripe strawberry, and daikon and jicama finish. A superb world-class daiginjo with fantastically rich and appealing flavors.
Ninki-Ichi  Daiginjo Sake
95 points
Light silvery emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of pineapple husk, rice pudding, sea spray, peanut and almond butters, lychee blossom, and rice paper with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, delightful, very long pineapple in coconut milk with mint, candied papaya and mango, radish and sweet peas, and bamboo and cashew fruit finish. A supple, fruity and chewy daiginjo that is sure to satisfy fans of Alsacian Gewurztraminer.
Joto  Junmai Ginjo Sake
94 points
Brilliant silvery emerald straw color. Aromas of rye, violet, melons, red apple, and toasted sesame with a round, crisp, fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long anisette biscotti, taro dessert, tapioca, and ginger powder finish. A silky-smooth, starchy Junmai Ginjo that will be excellent with pate.
94 points $26.99
Kenbishi  Mizuho Junmai Sake
94 points
Rich yellow straw color. Roasted, attractive aromas and flavors of toasted rice with tamari and butter, honey roasted nuts, and carob with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, long nectarines with malted chocolate, figs and melon rind, and praline finish. A complex combination of sweet and savory tones makes this a natural choice for pairings; sherry-lovers need apply!
Kurosawa  Daiginjo Sake
94 points
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.
Awards: 2017 Top 3 Best Sake
Murai Family  Daiginjo Sake
94 points
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.
Awards: 2017 Top 3 Best Sake
Ichishima  Ginnoyorokobi Competition Daiginjo Sake
94 points
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.
Awards: 2017 Top 3 Best Sake
Kurosawa  Junmai Kimoto Sake
93 points
Brilliant emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of bananas foster, mangoes on a stick with chili powder, lipstick, and smoked herbs with a satiny, bright, fruity medium body and a warming, amusing, medium-long spiced apples with caramelized bacon, coconut custard, cashew fruit, and honeyed jicama and endive finish. A savory and appealing and finely balanced kimoto that will be very versatile.
Okunomatsu  Ginjo Sake
93 points
Light straw green color. Aromas and flavors of spiced dried pineapple kiwi and papaya, delicate cashew butter, hint of kidd leather, and orchid and mint with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a sleek, appealing, medium-long ripe starfruit, melon, and nectarine, banana in coconut water, and sweet lettuce finish. An ethereal and tasty ginjo that drinks like a daiginjo and will appeal to Italian pinot grigio drinkers.
Yamanashi Meijo  Shichiken Junmai Ginjo Sake
93 points
Bright silvery emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of star anise, spearmint, starfruit, and tarragon with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light body and a seamless, complex, medium-long strawberry dust, aloe, and salt finish. An elegant Junmai Ginjo with delicate fruits and an exceptional mouthfeel; divine.