Sake challenge 2014 by SIO

Presented by the Sake Institute of Ontario

The Sake Institute of Ontario was excited for there upcoming Annual Kampai Festival of Sake Event they wanted to hold a first Sake Tasting Competition in Canada hence the Sake Challenge was born

First Organized Sake Tasting Competition in Canada
Panel of 6 Judges from diverse backgrounds in categories of wine, sake & culinary skills 139 different Sakes entries from Ontario, US & Japan

Sakes assessed by 6 sake types
Honjozo,Junmai,Ginjo, Dai-Ginjo Sparking & NigoriThe Winners of the Sake Challenge (bottom of this post)


There was 6 Judges & over 120+ sakes were tested & Before each category winner was announced, the judge explained the sake category in detail, what they were looking for and what made the winning sake shine. It was great hear each judge speak about the sake they were giving the award to & talked at length about each one


After hearing them you do gain alot of knowledge about each variety & want makes each type different & brewing process for each type

It was great we got sample the 6 winning Sakes from the competition and you can as well at Kampai Toronto So the SIO hopes having the excitement of this competition with help & educate you more on the names & types of sake.

The Six Judges for the competition

David Beauroy (wine trade & former product manager sake vintages
Click for bio
Richard FeldKamp (product consult) LCBO Click for bio
Michael Pataran (Executive Chef 99 Sudbury Sake Writer) – Click for bio
Zoltan Szabo (Wine Writer & Somelier) –Click for bio
Michael Tremblay (National Sake Sommelier) Ki Moderen Japanese Click for bio
Chef Hiro Yoshida (Chef & owner Hiro Sushi – Click for bio

Rules & Overview of the Sake Challenge

Products tasted blind & evaluated on 5 parameters
(Appearance, Aroma, Flavor, Finish & Overall Impression)

Sake served at consistent temps the Vessals used were iso tasting glasses





Two Rounds of tasting per category with category winners determined by the
Cumulative score across judges in the top preform ing round

Golds & Sliver were awarded proportionally to the number of entries per category (up to 25% if top preform could be eligible

The Winners of the First Toronto International Sake Challenge by the Sake Institute of Ontario

449Honjozo category: Takatenjin ‘Sword of the Sun’ Tokubetsu Honjozo
Agent: Metropolitan Wines & Sake –  @MetroWineSake – Vivian Hatherall
Availability  LCBO Private Ordering # 767145; 720ml (Case of 6 btls);
Rice: Yamada Nishiki & Haenuki
Tasting Note: Bright aromas and flavours abound in this Tokubetsu polished to Ginjo-minimum levels. Melon, pear, and banana drive the aromas and combine with a subtle
sweet touch highlighted by a subdued acidity in the butter-tinged flavour. Clean, dry & rich, this easy-drinking sake offers great depth & versatility.




Junmai category: Ryozeki Tokubetsu Junmai Yamahai
Agent: Sakagura Canada inc – Stephan Sung Choi @SungStephenChoi
Availability  LCBO Private Ordering #211341; 720ml (Case of 6 btls);
Seimaibuai:  60% (Rice Polish rate of 40%)
Rice:  Miyama-Nishiki
Tasting Note: This clear tart Yamahai is a gamier and wilder with typical Yamahai’s high acidity, but still elegant and smooth. Rich and well balanced. Hint of herb. Best served slight chilled or at room temperature.




Ginjo category: Taiheizan Chogetsu ‘Clear Moon’ Junmai Ginjo
Agent: Kimura Enterprise – Erin Kimura
Availability  LCBO Private Ordering #702026, 720ml (Case of 6 btls),
Seimaibuai:  45% (Rice Polish rate of 55%)
Rice:  Akita Sake Komachi
Tasting Note: Also know as ‘Clear Moon’, Chogetsu has an aroma consisting of pineapple and tropical fruits and flowers. It has a light yet flavourful quality to it that produces a refreshingly elegant and rich taste.



Dai-Ginjo category: Okunomatsu Sakura Dai-Ginjo
Agent Kado Enterprises @kiyokomiyashita – Massey Miysasita
Availability LCBO Private Ordering #757947 720ml (Case of 6 btls)
Seimaibuai:  50% (Rice Polish rate of 50%)
Rice:  Gohyakumangoku
Tasting Note: Clear. Aromas of vanilla nut brittle, coconut water, and papaya custard with a silky, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a pineapple sorbet, meringue, and salted radish accented finish. A soft, alluring sake with a nice balance of fruit.



Sparkling category: Okunomatsu Junmai Dai-Ginjo Sparkling
Agent: Kado Enterprises @kiyokomiyashita
Availability/Price:  LCBO Vintages #228973; 290ml; $16.95 Seimaibuai:  50% (Rice Polish rate of 50%)
Rice:  Gohyakumangoku
Tasting Note: Refreshing fine bubbles with hints of sweetness. Elegant Junmai Daiginjo Sparkling is surrounded by a dancing, champagne-like liveliness from the gentle carbonation. Light nose of melon, honey and cotton candy, round rice flavor. Dom Perignon of Sake!

451Nigori category: Rihaku ‘DreamyClouds’ Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori
Agent: Metropolitan Wines & Sake –  @MetroWineSake Vivian Hatherall
Seimaibuai: 58% (Rice Polish rate of 42%)
Rice: Gohyakumangoku
Tasting Note: This is a partially cloudy sake (aka ‘usu nigori’). Bright & lean in the mouth, unlike many nigoris, and the impact is soft with sweet rice flavours intermingling with nuttiness & slight fruitiness



The complete list of the TISC 2014 Sake Challenge Awards are listed below

Honjozo Category:
Category Winner, Gold – Takatenjin ‘Sword of the Sun’ Tokubetsu Honjozo (Metropolitan)
Silver – Eiko Fuji Ban Ryu ‘Ten Thousand Ways’ (Metropolitan)
Finalist – Hakkaisan Honjozo (Ozawa)
Finalist – Morning Dew Plus (Kado Enterprises)
Finalist – Masumi Tokusen Honjozo (Churchill Cellars)
Finalist – Yoshi no Gawa Kome Dry (Metropolitan)

Junmai Category:
Category Winner, Gold – Ryozeki Yamahai (Sakagura)
Gold – Yuki no Bosha Yamahai Junmai (Metropolitan)
Gold – Kozaemon Shinano Miyamanishiki (That’s Life Gourmet)
Silver – SakeMoto** (Metropolitan)
Silver – Tenzan Heavens Mountain Jizake Junmai Genshu (Ozawa)
Silver – Izumi Arabashiri (Ontario Spring Water Sake Co)
Silver – Fukumitsuya Kagatobi Gokkan Junmai (That’s Life Gourmet)
Silver – Fukumasamune Tradition Junmai (That’s Life Gourmet)
Silver – Otokoyama Tokubetsu Junmai (Ozawa)
Finalist – Okunomatsu Tokubetsu Junmai (Kado Enterprises)
Finalist – Wakatake Demon Slayer Onikoroshi Junmai** (Ozawa)
Finalist – Gekkeikan Haiku** (Select Wines)
Finalist – Izumi Shiboritate (Ontario Spring Water Sake Co)
Finalist – Taiheizan Kimoto (Kimura Enterprises)
Finalist – Gekkeikan Gold** (Select Wines)
Finalist – Izumi Genshu (Ontario Spring Water Sake Co)
Finalist – Sho Chiku Bai Classic** (Ozawa)
Finalist – Izumi Namanama (Ontario Spring Water Sake Co)
Finalist – Kasumi Tsuru Extra Dry Kimoto (Metropolitan)
Finalist – Kozaemon House Junmai (That’s Life Gourmet)
Finalist – Izumi Namacho (Ontario Spring Water Sake Co)
**Denotes ‘Best Value’ Designation

Ginjo Category:
Category Winner, Gold – Taiheizan ‘Chogetsu’ Junmai Ginjo (Kimura Enterprises)
Gold – Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo (Metropolitan)
Silver – Wakatake Demon Slayer Onikoroshi Junmai Ginjo (Ozawa)
Silver – Yuki no Bosha Limited Release Junmai Ginjo (Metropolitan)
Silver – Tsukasabotan Fu-in Junmai Ginjo** (Ozawa)
Silver – Yoshi no Gawa Gokujo Ginjo (Metropolitan)
Finalist – Nagai Mizbasho Junmai Ginjo (That’s Life Gourmet)
Finalist – Sho Chiku Bai Rei Junmai Ginjo Draft Sake (Ozawa)
Finalist – Daishichi Masakura (JFC Canada)
Finalist – Okumomatsu Ginjo (Kado Enterprises)
Finalist – Nagai Oze Beisuika Junmai Ginjo Low Alcohol (That’s Life Gourmet)
Finalist – Sho Chiku Bai Premium Ginjo** (Ozawa)
Finalist – Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo (Ozawa)
Finalist – Kubota Senju “1000 Long Lives”Ginjo** (Ozawa)

Daiginjo Category:
Category Winner, Gold – Okunomatsu Sakura Daiginjo** (Kado Enterprises)
Gold – Nanbu Bijin Junmai Daiginjo (Ozawa)
Silver – Daishichi Minowamon (JFC Canada)
Silver – Taiheizan Tenko (Kimura Enterprises)
Silver – Ninki Gold Junmai Daiginjo** (Kado Enterprises)
Finalist – Takatenjin ‘Soul of the Sensei’ Junmai Daiginjo (Metropolitan)
Finalist – Wakatake “Demon Slayer” Onikoroshi Junmai Daiginjo (Ozawa)
Finalist – Ippongi Denshin “Rin” (JFC Canada)
Finalist – Konteki ‘Tears of Dawn’ Daiginjo** (Metropolitan)
Finalist – Ozeki Osakaya Chobei (JFC Canada)
Finalist – Kaho-Gura Junmai Daiginjo (Sakagura)
Finalist – Shindoushuzou Gasanryu Kisaragi (JFC Canada)

**Denotes ‘Best Value’ Designation

Sparkling Category:
Category Winner, Gold – Okunomatsu Junmai Daiginjo Sparkling (Kado Enterprises)
Silver – Ozeki Hana Awaka (JFC Canada)
Finalist – Mio Sparkling Sake (Ozawa)

Nigori Category:
Category Winner, Gold – Rihaku ‘Dreamy Clouds’ Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori (Metropolitan)
Gold – Momokawa Pearl Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu** (Metropolitan)
Silver – Kikusui Perfect Snow Nigori Genshu (Ozawa)
Silver – Wakatake Demon Slayer Onikoroshi Nigori (Ozawa)
Finalist – Izumi Nigori (ON Spring Water Sake Co)
Finalist – Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori** (Bruce Ashley)

Try all the above Sakes at Kampai Toronto on Thursday May 29th @ the Distillery District  Get tickets Now!

Below is some Sake Base Cocktail & Food Recipes

From Blowfish Restaurant & Sake Bar:

‘Root of Innocence’ Cocktail
2 oz Murai Family Tokubetsu Honjozo Sake (available at LCBO Vintages)
½ oz Cointreau
2tsp Yuzu Marmalade
¼ oz fresh ginger juice
1oz fresh lime juice
4 oz fresh grapefruit juice
½ oz Harbarnaro lime syrup
Pinch ginger root

From Bent Restaurant:

The Karate Kid’ Cocktail
Nigori (Cloudy) Sake
Jasmin Tea
Infused Hendrinks Gin
Lime Sour
Vanilla Syrup
Egg White

Sake Food Based Recipes

From Hapa Izakaya:

Halibut Risotto Arancini
Butter 1/2 lb
Onion 2
Sake 1 Litre
Rice 1 kg
Halibut dashi 3 Litre
King oyster 1/2lb
Green onion 50g

Cook the onion, rice, butter and mushrooms in a pan.  Add small amounts of halibut broth to smooth out the rice to get the smooth rice texture.  Cool and make small rice balls then deep fry.

From Ki Modern Japanese + Bar:

Braised Pork Belly
Soy Sauce 4 Litre
Mirin 4 Litre
Sugar Brown 2lb
Ginger 16oz
Garlic Peeled 16oz
Pork Bellies 2 sides
Chicken Stock 4 Litre
Green Onions 5oz
Sake 4 Litre

Cut pork bellies into three chucks and sear. Combine other ingredients and bring to a boil in a pot. Add pork bellies into hot pan, add the other ingredients and braise in oven at 300 degrees for 2 hours.