Is there taste difference like wine?

Although the range of flavor and aroma are narrower than wine, yes sake also has difference! It must be interesting to know that distinctive characteristics are sweetness and umami (amino acid) while the ones for wine are astringency from tannin and acidity. The Sake Service Institute (SSI) created four classifications based on aroma and flavor.

 

Kunshu (薫酒): 薫 means 'aromatic' and 酒 means sake in Japanese. Kun-shu has rich fruity or herb aroma and light, fresh flavour. This type can be sweet or dry and is similar to white wine. Junmai Daiginjoshu, Daiginjoshu, Junmai Ginjoshu and Ginjoshu genarally fall under this type.

alps MASAMUNE Junmai Daiginjoshu

 

So-shu (爽酒): 爽 means 'refreshing' and sake in this type is modest overall and has fresh aroma with a smooth and lush flavour. So-shu is the lightest and simplest of the four types of sake and it's most suitable to be chilled. Honzojoshu, Namazake and Futsushu generally fall under this type.

Junshu (醇酒): 醇 means strong taste in Japanese and sake in this type has rich flavour with umami and the aroma of steamed rice. Its strong taste lasts in your mouth and it's similar to full-body red wine. Junmaishu and sake using traditional kimoto-kei shubo generally fall under this type.

Jukushu (熟酒): 熟 means 'ripe' in Japanese and sake in this type is rich and powerful overall with an aged aroma of dry fruit, nuts and spices, which is quite unique among these four categories. It has a creamy texture with sweetness and umami which make this type complicating and deep. Aged sakes, Koshu and Choki Jukuseishu mainly fall under this type.

 



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