1. Overview

The Kansai Sake Appreciation and Evaluation Meeting 2017 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures) is held in accordance with the following aims:

  1. (1) Annual quality examinations of sake manufactured within the Kansai region in the fall, and notification of evaluation results to entrants.
  2. (2) Advancement, progression, and quality improvement of sake manufacturing technology through the disclosure of sake entries to parties involved in sake manufacturing.
  3. (3) Contribution to the development of the sake industry.

The Kansai region constitutes the major consumer market for sake and includes Osaka City, Kobe City, and Kyoto City. Moreover, both Nada (Coastal Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (southern Kyoto City) are Japan’s largest sake producing areas. The Kansai region possesses state-of-the-art technology for sake manufacturing, and is thus known for the production of high-quality sakes.

The Kansai region extends from the Sea of Japan, with its colder oceanic climate, to the Pacific Ocean, with its milder climate. There are a large number of breweries that produce a wide variety of rich, mellow, and crisp sakes.

2. Sake Entries

(1) Ginjo-shu

Ginjo-shu (“Labeling Standards for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake [National Tax Agency Notice No. 8, 1989]”) produced during the 2016 brewing year (July 2016 to June 2017).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made using rice with a rice-polishing ratio of 60% or greater, with no limitation on brewing year.

3. Quality Examinations

(1) Examination dates

October 3 (Tuesday), 4 (Wednesday), and 6 (Friday), 2017

(2) Examination site

Alcoholic Beverage Inspection Office, Fourth Floor, Osaka National Government Building No. 3

(3) Examination methods

Conducted with a total of 51 jury members (individuals under the age of 65 years at the time of the quality examinations with broad knowledge and expertise in the quality examination of alcoholic beverages, such as staff members from prefectural brewing-related organizations and toji, or master sake brewers).

Ginjo-shu evaluations were conducted at room temperature, and warmed sake was evaluated at approximately 45°C, after heating in a vessel containing water at 50–52°C.

(4) Evaluation standards

Overall quality was evaluated for the following qualities of sake deemed to be “good”.

Ginjo-shu: Harmony of aroma and flavor distinct to ginjo-shu present in a matured, mellow taste.

Warmed sake: Harmony of aroma and flavor enticing a desire that cannot be sated.

4. Status of Entries

(Unit: entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Total

5. Trends in Quality of Sake of Entries

Although atmospheric temperatures during the 2016 brewing year were somewhat high in December, temperatures were lower starting in mid-January, in time for the peak of the sake brewing season. In general, it was a suitable year for brewing.

However, in terms of the rice used for brewing, the atmospheric temperature in western Japan was the same as or higher than the yearly average from August to September of last year. Consequently, late-growing varieties of rice in western Japan, for which ears of the grain would appear from late August to early September, had a tendency to be harder to dissolve. As for Yamada Nishiki, rice ear germination depended on the producing region, and there seemed to be great variation in quality.

Under these difficult conditions for producing raw materials, producers fully demonstrated their excellent brewing skills, cultivated over many years, and also properly stored their product in the summer months. Because of this, most of the sake entries were of outstanding quality with balanced flavors.

(1) Ginjo-shu

Aromas were showy and reminiscent of fruit, and had the rich scents typical of ginjo-shu.

Flavors included those that were moderately matured and mellow, and, perhaps due to the rice grown last year, which was difficult to dissolve, many entries were clean-tasting and light.

(2) Warmed sake

Aromas ranged from those that seemed mild to those that seemed rich, and flavors ranged from light, to acidic, to broad, deep, and rich. These entries showed great individuality and variety.

6. Conferment of Prizes

Breweries whose entries received superior marks on the quality evaluation were awarded the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau Director’s “Excellence Prize.”

7. List of “Excellence Prize” Recipient Breweries