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Japan's Sake Makers Look to Wine to Define Craft Brews by Region

Few alcoholic beverages are as intimately associated with one country as sake is with Japan. Nihonshu, or “Japanese sake,” became a protected term internationally only in 2015; before that, it hardly seemed necessary. Hard on its heels, the prefecture of Yamagata became recognized as a “geographical indication” on labels for particular sakes the following year.

4 Women-Powered Sakes to Try Right Now, According to a Sake Expert

In ancient times, the Japanese rice wine known as sake was primarily made by women.

5 Sakes Natural Wine Lovers Should Try

If you crave unbridled, vibrant natural wines, it’s worth tracking down some Yamahai and Kimoto sake, two older brewing styles that also offer bold flavors in a radically different context. To make them, brewers embrace natural lactic bacteria and wild yeast, rather than controlling the process with commercial lactic acid and cultivated yeast.

Strawberry Yeast, SF Sake and More: 3 New Trends in Sake You’ll See More of in 2018

When Jake Freed opened Shiba Ramen in Emeryville nearly three years ago with his wife Hiroko Nakamura, naturally he started slurping down a lot of noodles. And also a lot of sake.

“Drinking sake is an important part of the food culture in Japan,” says Freed. “After we opened up Shiba Ramen, we started drinking more of it, and the interest started to grow.”

Tsubaki Pours the Most Interesting Sake in L.A.

There's a crazy story about the creation of Kimurashiki Kiseki No Osake, a junmai ginjo sake also known as Miracle Sake.

The origin story sounds apocryphal. It's the kind of legend that's probably been embellished or distorted from telling to telling. Courtney Kaplan, a sake expert who serves Kimurashiki at L.A. izakaya Tsubaki, heard the tale from an importer.

How a 300-Year-Old Brewery Makes Some of Japan's Finest Sake

Steeped in more than three centuries of tradition and with only a tightly controlled group of four allowed to handle it, Katsuyama sake is amongst the best in Japan. And at a recent dinner inside the legendary Park Hyatt Tokyo, Katsuyama’s current owner, Heizo Isawa shared some of the secrets that have kept his sake held in such high esteem since its samurai founding in the 17th century.

5 Sakes to Drink Now

Miyasaka "Yawaraka" Junmai Gingo

Approachable and easy-drinking, this junmai ginjo
(a term that refers to how much of the rice kernel gets polished off before brewing) is ideal for the sake novice. $28; sakayanyc.com.

This Man's Family Has Brewed Sake for Almost 900 Years

Genuemon Sudo carefully opens a bottle, pours clear liquid into a Burgundy glass and puts it to his nose before taking a slow, thoughtful sip. The sake Sudo sips so reverently is his family's own creation, the foundation of a business and tradition passed down through an astounding 55 generations.

Tips for Drinking Sake Over the Holidays

Serving Sake

Serve it in white wine glasses. “The little cups are great, but if you pour sake into a white wine glass, you’ll have the best opportunity to experience all of its aromas,” says Koenig.

Drink sake when it’s young. “Sake is more volatile than wine because it’s brewed, like beer,” says Koenig. “Its active enzymes will degrade over time. In general, you want to drink it within a year—check the date on the bottle.”

Your Sake Crib Notes from NYC's New Mega Robata Restaurant

Entering the wide world of sake isn’t easy when you’ve only tasted hot, label-less shots at a sushi bar. For most sake neophytes, it’s like getting into craft beer after years of Bud Light or PBR. Enter Zuma, NYC's new outpost of a Japanese mega restaurant based in London. Zuma makes its own sake and employs sommelier Samuel Davies to oversee a list of about 70 more selections. Here, he shares some of his favorite bottles for a range of tastes and styles.