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Reviews for 2017

August 2017 - World Sake Challenge

August 2017 - World Sake Challenge
This month's Wine feature is World Sake Challenge Wines

World Sake Challenge Reviews

Kurosawa  Daiginjo Sake
94 points
$60
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
$70
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
$170
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
Hakutsuru  Superior Junmai Ginjo Sake
93 points
$16
Best Buy
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.
Awards: 2017 Best Junmai Ginjo Sake
93 points $16 Best Buy
Okunomatsu  Daiginjo Shizukuzake 18th Generation Sake
93 points
$150
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.
Okunomatsu  Tokubetsu Junmai Sake
92 points
$25
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.
Awards: 2017 Best Junmai Sake
Kasumi Tsuru  Kimoto Extra Dry Sake
92 points
$27
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.
Shichiken  Junmai Ginjo Sake
92 points
$30
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.
Yoshinogawa  Gokujo Ginjo Sake
92 points
$30
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.
Kasumi Tsuru  Yamahai Junmai Ginjo Sake
92 points
$39
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.
Ichishima  Junmai Daiginjo Sake
92 points
$70
White gold color. Aromas and flavors of cashew fruit and nougat, apples in vanilla cream, melon rind, and coconut custard tart with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a polished, interesting, medium-length nectarine and starfruit, golden beet, honeyed nuts, and bibb lettuce finish. A nice balance of fruit and savory vegetable tones make this a natural choice for the table.
Yaegaki  Mu Junmai Daiginjo
91 points
$30
Pale emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of honey roasted apple and pear, white chocolate macadamia cookie, sun-dried tomato, and cheese puff with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a smooth, distinctive, medium-long spiced watermelon and mango, water chestnut and bamboo shoot, yellow pepper, and cedar finish. A lively and engaging Junmai Daiginjo with a chewy appetizing texture.
SakéMoto  Junmai Sake
90 points
$10
Best Buy
White gold color. Aromas and flavors of ripe pineapple, apple, and papaya with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, captivating, long melon balls, almond milk, banana chips, and birch bark finish. A rich, round, flavorful Juneau with great style and balance.
90 points $10 Best Buy
Momokawa  Lightly Sweet Ruby Junmai Ginjo Sake
90 points
$14
Best Buy
Light silver color. Inviting aromas and flavors of banana yogurt, spiced melon and tangerine, and cinnamon rice pudding with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a graceful, delightful, medium-long coconut water and milk, white strawberry, and almond brittle finish. An attractive, well-composed sake that is sure to please.
90 points $14 Best Buy
Yaegaki  Kurobin Black Bottle Sake
90 points
$20
Dull silver color. Aromas and flavors of melon and peach balls, mashed potatoes, honey buttered biscuit, and white flowers with an bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a polished, appealing, medium-length coconut and almond milks, banana and persimmon, cashew brittle wrapper, and lime spritzed honeydew finish. A pretty Junmai with acidity that dances on your tongue.
Momokawa  Medium Dry Diamond Junmai Ginjo Sake
89 points
$14
Best Buy
Light silver color. Interesting aromas and flavors of ironed linen, floral tropical fruits, tamarind and edamame, and molded wax or plastic toy with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, appealing, cheery taro root pudding, melon, coconut rice cake, and mushroom finish. A dry, understated sake that will shine at the table.
89 points $14 Best Buy
Hatsumago  Kimoto Junmai Sake
89 points
$25
Clear silver color. Fruity, creamy aromas and flavors of white cake with delicate almond frosting and coconut cream pie with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, amusing, buoyant apple pudding, melon and grape, and delicate spiced nuts finish. A very tasty and gratifying sake that would be a nice introduction to sake.
Yoshinogawa  Gensen Karakuchi Sake
88 points
$20
Pale silver color. Fresh aromas and flavors of pineapples in cream, peach and guanabana, oatmeal and sesame with honey, and floral honeycomb with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a silky, intriguing, medium-length tapioca pudding, coconut milk, and cantaloupe finish. A satiny, pure sake with attractive flavor and balance—this sake over-delivers for its category.
Ichishima  Seishu Sake
88 points
$27
Brilliant silver color. Aromas and flavors of jicama and bananas in cream, doughy biscuit, hint of potato skin and walnut, and vanilla candle paper wrapper with a silky, soft, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, crisp vegetable broth, coconut custard, white cherry, and hint of pepper finish. A fresh and cleansing futsu-shu.
Ichishima  Silk Deluxe Junmai Sake
88 points
$32
Pale silvery straw color. Aromas and flavors of honeyed pear, plantain, and almond mint cookie with a soft, bright, off-dry light body and an effortless, interesting, easy sugared honeydew melon, starfruit, and white strawberry finish. A pleasant fruity Junmai crowd pleaser.
Kurosawa  Junmai Kimoto Sake
87 points
$20
Bright straw color. Aromas and flavors of dried mango banana and papaya, waxy honeycomb, yogurt almonds, and lychee with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, engaging, medium-length melon, coconut water, and nectarine finish. A rock-solid sake with lively structure and flavors; drinks a bit like an Alsatian white wine.
Moonstone  Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake
86 points
$13
Best Buy
Hazy silver color. Aromas and flavors of piña colada, lemongrass tea, and rice pudding with a satiny, bright, fruity sweet medium body and a polished, easy coconut custard finish. A fun flavored sake with a sweet tropical twist, try in piña coladas, with juices, or on ice.
86 points $13 Best Buy
Hananomai  Katana Ginjo Sake
86 points
$25
Silvery emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of tapioca pudding, rice flour, brown sugar sprinkled pear, and bamboo leaves with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long coconut water and saline, honeyed fig, bamboo, and pepper finish. A lively, juicy ginjo sake.
Yaegaki  Cloud Nigori Sake
85 points
$5
Best Buy
Cloudy silver color. Aromas and flavors of banana-lime keffir, warm rice pudding, macadamia nougat, and buttercream frosting with a supple, vibrant, fruity medium body and a tingling, stimulating, medium-length spiced jicama and honey roasted nuts finish. A pleasant Nigori for desserts.
85 points $5 Best Buy
Suisen Shuzo  Kibo Sake
85 points
$6
Best Buy
Bright silver color. Curious, vegetal aromas and flavors of soy soaked vegetables, chives, and mushrooms, roasted root vegetables, chlorine pool concrete, and bit o honey candy with a supple, soft, dry-yet-fruity light body and a warming, odd, medium honey roasted apples and nutshells, bamboo and tree bark, pepper, and paper finish. A savory, earthy mash-up of umami and fruit that will be fun to pair with.
85 points $6 Best Buy
G Joy  Genshu Sake
85 points
$20
Bright silver color. Aromas of cashew nougat, white cake box, banana yogurt, and sticky rice with a velvety, bright, medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long banana bread pudding, melon in coconut milk, mushroom consommé, and water chestnut finish. A rock-solid, full-strength sake that will shine at the table.
Murai Family  Tanrei Junmai Sake
85 points
$20
Pale silver color. Aromas and flavors of pineapple-banana relish, milk and honey, shrink-wrapped pear, and floral talc with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, engaging, crisp yellow apple, melon in cream, jicama, and walnut finish. A charming Junmai with appealing balance and fruitiness.
Ichishima  Junmai Sake
85 points
$35
Bright silver color. Aromas and flavors of toasted nuts, baked potato and sugar cane, honey rice cake, and fruity aloe drink with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, brisk young coconut and milk, plantain chip, and bark finish. A crisp, refreshing sake for carefree sipping.
Momokawa  Dry Crisp Silver Junmai Ginjo Sake
84 points
$14
Clear silver color. Aromas of almond cookie, banana-pepper relish, crayon, and hair with a light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk honeyed cashews, lemon spritzed melon, keffir, and peppered grape leaves finish. A snappy, peppery sake for spicy sushi.
Hakutsuru  Toji-Kan Sake
84 points
$20
Bright silver color. Aromas and flavors of milk soaked raisin toast, sweet potato fries, starfruit and cashew fruit, and floral talc with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, interesting, breezy powdered milk, pineapple-plantain relish, and pepper finish. A bright and robust futsu-shu.
Hananomai  Junmai Ginjo Sake
80 points
$25
Clear silver color. Curious aromas and flavors of plastic wrapped and fermenting tropical fruits and gooseberries, stale cashews, and old opened pineapple can with a supple, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, brisk overripe papaya in Greek yogurt, bamboo shoots and leaves, artichoke hearts, and coconut husk finish. A funky earthy sake for the table.
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