Sake Rice Wine Reviews

In 2009 we did a sake and sushi tasting with 10 bottles of sake as well as a bottle of "wine for sake". We used traditional sake tasting cups with the bullseye bottom - seen in our Sake Tasting Cup page. We also tested out the Riedel sake glass.

Sake Rice Wine Reviews

We began with the smaller bottles, all coming from Japan. We tasted all the sake first without any food at all - and then went around to try them with a selection of sushi, sashimi, cucumber salad, miso soup and rice.

Sake Rice Wine Reviews

Pride of the Village

Known as "Sato No Homare", this is a junmai ginjo. Junmai gingo is a style of sake that has at least 40% of the outer rice shell ground away. The label says it was actually 50% polished. The rice used is yamada nishiki, and the sake is made in the Ibaraki prefecture. This is on the central eastern coast of Japan.

This was quite clear. It was flowery in fragrancey, with a melon and nutty flavor. One of our tasters liked this the least out of all the sake because of its relatively strong fragrance. Interestingly, one of our other tasters liked this one best of all, perhaps for the same reason. It goes to show how we each taste things differently! I do find it a little too "perfumey" for my tastes.

Price: $20.99 / 300ml

Wandering Poet

The brand of this sake is named "Rihaku" after a poet who loved sake. It's stamped 04-2008. It is a Junmai Ginjo sake, as the first one. It is made from yamada nishiki rice as well. This one comes from the Shimane prefecture which is on the lower western side of Japan.

Again, a clear sake. In comparison with the first sake this was far less fragrant, more acidic. It had a crisp flavor with a very light, nutty aspect to it. Very quiet in flavors, none stood out.

Price: $15.99 / 300ml

Dreamy Clouds

Dreamy Clouds is a Rihaku brand Nigori Sake. You can see the same name calligraphy in the center of this bottle as on the previous one. Nigori means "unfiltered" and this is KEY. You have to shake this sake up before you serve it! Otherwise you have all the "cloudiness" of the sake (hence its name) sitting in a sludge at the bottom of the bottle. It was made from Gohyakumangoku rice. It's from the Shimane prefecture, like the previous one.

The sake was lightly creamy, with gentle flavors and a low aroma. All of the tasters enjoyed this one. This was the only sake of the small bottle set to have a cloudy appearance in our sake tasting glasses. The rest were all clear.

Price: $14.99 / 300ml

Heaven's Door

Heaven's Door, Ama no To is a tokubetsu junmai. Tokubetsu means "special" so this is a "special junmai", in essence a ginjo. It was made from Ginnosei and Miyama Nishiki rice. Created in the Akita prefecture, located in the northwest region of Japan.

Heaven's Door was another one that everyone enjoyed. It was smooth, creamy, slightly nutty and ricey, with gentle flavors and a long, lovely finish.

Price: $9.99 / 300ml

Bride of the Fox

Bride of the Fox is a Kanbara brand Junmai Ginjo sake, like the first two. It is dated 11/06. It is made from Gohyakumangoku rice. It comes from the Niigata prefecture, in the center western part of Japan. The sake is named for a fox-bride festival they have every year in this region.

Bride of the Fox is on the sweetish side, with a complex, full flavor. One of our tasters really loved this one. The flavor was long lasting.

Price: $9.99 / 300ml


Kikusui was the only sake in the set with no helpful information on the label. You could read the name and nothing else. A quick web search found that this is made with Gohyakumangoku rice, like the previous one. Also like the previous one it came from the Niigata prefecture.

Despite the label issues, we really like the hammered-glass look of the bottle. This gets kudos for prettiest bottle of the set. On flavor, though, it was extremely light. Watery almost. There was almost no discernable flavor. Short finish. This and Wandering Poet were the two least-favorite of this set.
Price: $9.99 / 300ml

Now that the small bottles were tasted, it was time to move on to the larger bottles!

Large Bottles Sake Tasting 2009

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