The Best Sake To Try In Australia

The Best Sake To Try In Australia
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Given how obsessed Australians are with Japan, it comes as little surprise to learn we are the second-fastest-growing export market for Japanese saké globally.

If you’re new to it, let us introduce you to the beverage, which is brewed from rice, and it might surprise you to learn it has more in common with beer than wine and spirits.

Other than rice, the key ingredients are water, yeast and koji mould, which contains enzymes that convert the rice starch into sugar and then into alcohol through fermentation.

If you’re on the hunt for a good saké, there are a few things you want to look for:

Image: SAKE 36
  • If it’s a premium style you’re after, you’ll want to make sure the word ‘ginjo’ appears on the label somewhere.
  • If you want a drier style, look for the word ‘Karakuchi’.
  • ‘Junmai’ is the Japanese word for ‘pure rice’, and unless a bottle of saké has ‘junmai’ written on it, it will have added alcohol or other additives. But just because a saké is not junmai, it doesn’t mean it’s not as good. Skilled brewers may add alcohol to change and enhance the flavour profiles and aromas and can mean for a smoother drink.
  • To produce saké, the rice needs to go through a process of being polished to remove the outer layer of each grain and expose its starchy core. Good saké is generally polished to about 50 to 70 per cent, and the more the rice has been polished, the higher the classification – but just because the rice might have been polished more, it doesn’t always guarantee better rice. For example, Ginjo saké is polished to at least 60 per cent.

Now that you know a thing or two about the drink, here are the best options to try in Australia until you can fly to Japan again! (Note: each of the headers below will take you to the specific retailer and price we’ve listed.)

Sasanokawa – Fukunoka Junmai Ginjo Japanese Saké, $60 from Vintage Cellars

Sasanokawa - Fukunoka Junmai Ginjo Japanese Sake
This is an elegant style and is an excellent one for everyone. It also goes well with seafood.

Dewazakura – Dewasansan Junmai Ginjo, $58 from Vintage Cellars

Dewazakura - Dewasansan Junmai Ginjo sake australia

This saké has scents of citrus fruits, ripe melon, custard and mushrooms, but tastes like melon, pear and white peach with a slight earthy mushroom and herbal flavour as well. It also pairs well with seafood.

Gekkeikan Saké, $30 from Liquorland

Gekkeikan Sake
Gekkeikan Saké is a clean and herbaceous saké with a slight bittersweet grapefruit flavour.

Kizakura – Yamahai Saké, $22 from First Choice Liquor

Kizakura - Yamahai Sake
Kizakura is one of the most famous brewers from Kyoto, and this saké is semi-dry in taste and matches well with many Japanese dishes.

Umenoyado Yuzushu, $65 from Saké Boutique

Umenoyado Yuzushu sake australia
This version features a citrus infusion of Japanese Yuzu fruit to give a lighter and more refreshing drink. It has a more crisp aroma and can be enjoyed on its own with ice or works as a mixer base.

Aragoshi Momo Shu, $65 from Saké Boutique

Aragoshi Momo Shu
Another sweet option, this one uses fresh Japanese white peach puree and can also be enjoyed on its own over ice or as part of a cocktail.

Hanzo Kaminoho Junmai Daiginjo, $55.95 from Saké Shop

Hanzo Kaminoho Junmai Daiginjo
This award-winning saké has aromas of melon, pear, apple and cream and flavours of ripe melon, apricot, lemongrass and pink grapefruit.

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