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The National New Sake鑑評会: An In-Depth Look at Japan's Prestigious Sake CompetitionIntroduction


The National New Sake鑑評会 (Zenkoku Shinshu Kanpyokai) is a highly competitive and prestigious sake competition held annually in Japan since 1911. It is co-sponsored by the National Research Institute of Brewing (NRIB) and the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSSMA).

The鑑評会 is widely considered to be the benchmark for sake quality in Japan. Winning a medal at the鑑評会 can be a major boost for a sake brewery, and can lead to increased sales and recognition. The鑑評会 also helps to promote sake culture and educate consumers about the different types of sake available.

History

The鑑評会 has a long and storied history. It was originally founded in 1889 by the Ministry of Finance as a way to improve the quality of sake and increase tax revenue. The competition was initially held every other year, but it became an annual event in 1907.

In the early years of the鑑評会, the focus was on sake quality. However, in the 1970s, the鑑評会 began to place more emphasis on sake aroma and flavor. This shift in focus led to a dramatic increase in the number of sake breweries entering the competition.

Today, the鑑評会 is one of the most prestigious sake competitions in the world. It is open to all sake breweries in Japan, and over 1,000 sake are entered each year.

Eligibility and Judging

To be eligible for the鑑評会, sake must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be a ginjo sake genshu (undiluted sake).

  • It must have an acidity of 0.8 or higher.

  • It must be brewed within the current brewing year.

The sake is judged in two rounds: preliminary and final.

In the preliminary round, the sake is evaluated for its aroma, flavor, and overall quality. A panel of experts, including brewers, researchers, and government officials, conducts the judging.

The top 30% of sake in the preliminary round advance to the final round.

In the final round, the sake is evaluated for its overall harmony and characteristics. The same panel of experts from the preliminary round conducts the judging.

Awards

The following awards are given at the鑑評会:

  • Gold Medal: Awarded to sake that is particularly excellent in terms of aroma, flavor, and overall quality.

  • Silver Medal: Awarded to sake that is excellent in terms of aroma, flavor, and overall quality.

  • Bronze Medal: Awarded to sake that is good in terms of aroma, flavor, and overall quality.

Trends

In the past, sake brewed with Yamada Nishiki rice, polished to 35%, and fermented with 9号酵母 (Kyōkai No. 9 yeast) was considered to be ideal for the鑑評会. However, in recent years, there has been a trend towards diversity in terms of ingredients and sake quality.

Sake with a balance of aroma and flavor is now more highly valued than sake with a strong,華やかな香り (hanやかなkaori, "華やかな香り"). Sake brewed with different rice varieties, yeasts, and brewing techniques is also becoming more popular.

Significance

The National New Sake鑑評会 is an important event that plays a vital role in the Japanese sake industry. It helps to ensure that high-quality sake is produced, and it also helps to promote sake culture and educate consumers about the different types of sake available.

The鑑評会 is also a valuable resource for sake breweries. It provides them with feedback on their sake, helping them to improve their brewing skills and produce even better sake.

Conclusion

The National New Sake鑑評会 is a prestigious and important event that plays a vital role in the Japanese sake industry. It helps to ensure that high-quality sake is produced, and it also helps to promote sake culture and educate consumers about the different types of sake available.

Additional Information

  • The鑑評会 is not the only sake competition in Japan. There are many other competitions held throughout the year, both domestically and internationally.

  • The鑑評会 is a valuable resource for consumers who want to learn more about sake and find high-quality sake to enjoy.

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