August 2017 - World Sake Challenge

This month's Wine feature is World Sake Challenge Wines
World Sake Challenge Reviews
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
220596
Ichishima
Junmai Daiginjo Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220572
Yaegaki
Mu Junmai Daiginjo
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220461
SakéMoto
Junmai Sake
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220472
Momokawa
Lightly Sweet Ruby Junmai Ginjo Sake
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220573
Yaegaki
Kurobin Black Bottle Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220473
Momokawa
Medium Dry Diamond Junmai Ginjo Sake
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220838
Hatsumago
Kimoto Junmai Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220463
Yoshinogawa
Gensen Karakuchi Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220597
Ichishima
Seishu Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220598
Ichishima
Silk Deluxe Junmai Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220835
Kurosawa
Junmai Kimoto Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220474
Moonstone
Coconut Lemongrass Nigori Sake
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220842
Hananomai
Katana Ginjo Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220574
Yaegaki
Cloud Nigori Sake
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220470
Suisen Shuzo
Kibo Sake
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
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220475
G Joy
Genshu Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220464
Murai Family
Tanrei Junmai Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220595
Ichishima
Junmai Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220471
Momokawa
Dry Crisp Silver Junmai Ginjo Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220468
Hakutsuru
Toji-Kan Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220837
Hananomai
Junmai Ginjo Sake
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.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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