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The history of pure Japanese sake wine.

Did you know there are different strengths of sake wine?

The history of pure Japanese sake wine.
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Pure Japanese sake wine is made from fermented rice, water and Koji mold from Bamforth dating back to the Nara period which was back in 710-794 AD. This wine was only drunk during religious ceremonies, court festivals and drinking games.

Sake wine has a warming effect on the whole body when drunk so, is best to consume this during the mid-winter months when the weather is freezing cold, but also enjoyable to drink during any seasonal months of each year.

Mass sake production used to be brewed in the city of Kobe in ancient Japan with more than 20 million litres were shipped to Edo (Tokyo capital city of Japan). Sometimes sugar and acids were added to make the alcoholic beverage.

Breweries these days produce traditional and modern sake wines, with mild, medium and strong strengths of this warming Japanese alcoholic drink, very popular amongst Asians.

Having sampled different strengths of this wine recently at a very nice restaurant, the mild strength has a silky smooth hint of sweet white milky flavour. The medium strength had a fruity red taste to my palate and made into an alcoholic cocktail drink. The strongest strength was crystal clear and had 20 % alcohol in it, which I must say only a glass of it made me very tipsy and light headed. But all 3 sake wine strengths gave me a warming sensation all over and was very pleasant to drink with my Japanese gourmet meal I experienced with 2 work colleagues of mine an evening never to forget, cooked by a Michelin star TV chef Cheryl Law who is a Filipino young lady. This restaurant she works at is situated in the town centre of Bournemouth, Dorset by the English riveria coastal district in good old England.

This ancient wine, was indeed a very pleasant accompaniment to our scrumptious 7 course Japanese gourmet meal that evening not so long ago and we plan to return to at some point in the future. The sake wines married super well with the food we ate that night.

A small glass of pure Japanese sake wine, costs around £12.50 and a bottle of it would have stretched from £80 to hundreds of pounds GBP sterling. But was a very special night out we won't forget in a hurry and was well worth every penny for the experience was out of this world.

There are 5 different pure sake wines junmai-shu which is 70% milled rice, using seimai buai. This means it has a full and rich body; a higher acidic level in comparison to other types of sake wines. Ginjo-shu has a delicate and light flavour. It uses a special type of yeast and the rice is fermented on a low temperature. Daiginjo-shu is 35% - 50% uses rice mash has an alcoholic high fragrance, full body but a delicate taste and a brief tail. Honjzo-shu uses sake rice by milling 70% of it and adding brewers alcohol. This is what gives it a light and smooth body flavour. Ideally served warm. Namazake is not pasteurised sake wine, drunk chilled and is produced on a small scale. This is what the mild milky sake wine is known as. Instead of using sake rice it uses, Koji rice to ferment this type of wine.

It takes 60-90 days to make pure sake wine but, you need all the correct equipment and tools to do so. To buy the 100% authentic Japanese sake wines is available online if yo Google it and all the sake wines that are sold in leading supermarkets are not the pure quality except, they are all diluted with other liquids.

Read next: Whiskey: A Guide and History
Pauline SL Cheung
See all posts by Pauline SL Cheung