This brief sake guide should serve as an overview to what sake is about; find out more below.
Sake – pronounced saké – is an alcoholic beverage brewed, primarily, from rice and water. It resembles white wine in appearance, ranging from almost transparent to dark amber. The 13%–17% alcohol content of many sake varieties is slightly higher than that of wine, but sake also has a mild taste with little acidity, bitterness or astringency.
Very few sake are aged or have a vintage; rather, sake is designed to be drunk within a year or so of its bottling date. Unlike wine, sake is not preserved with sulphites; instead, it is pasteurised to stop fermentation, thereby stabilising the brew and killing off any unwanted organisms. There are some sake that are unpasteurised (or have only been through one of the two pasteurisation steps) – known as namazake – which tend to have very fresh, fruity and vibrant qualities.
There are about 1,200 breweries (or kura) in Japan making sake today and each kura produces around 20 different sake. This means that there are approximately 25,000 different sake produced in Japan each with its own, distinctive characteristic and flavour! If you’ve tried one and weren’t keen, try another (we dare you!).
Throughout this website and in our blog you can find a lot of supportive information about all things sake related.
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