Japanese traditional food culture, knows as “Washoku”, is attracting attention from around the world after its registeration as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2013. Along with the boom, Japanese sake has also been spreading, but many people have an image of it as being somewhat difficult to get used to.
The sparkling sake "AWASAKE" overturns this conventional notion. With its light mouthfeel and gorgeous appearance, it has been well received even by sake novices. Its fine bubbles make it suitable for special occasions, and it can be used as a toasting drink.
Aiming to be the world's standard toast drink
To put it simply, AWASAKE is sake that contains bubbles. It is commonly referred to as sparkling sake. However, not all of them can qualify as AWASAKE. It is a title given only to special sparkling sake that meets certain standards.
Although sparkling sake is considered a new category of sake, it has a surprisingly long history, and some breweries have been making it since before the Pacific War (1941-45). However, it has never spread because of technical problems that made it difficult to ensure a stable supply and because it was not palatable to consumers.
It is only in recent years that sparkling sake has finally come into the limelight. As the quality of sake has improved and consumer tastes have broadened, its popularity has skyrocketed. It has a reputation for being easy to drink, even for those who are not familiar with sake.
As demand for sparkling sake has grown, many breweries have begun to produce it over the past few years, but there were no clear standards for how it should be produced.
To address this issue, the AWASAKE Association was established in 2016 by a group of famous breweries from across Japan. Only brands that pass the strict standards are certified as AWASAKE, and the association aims to make AWASAKE "the world's standard toast drink," comparable to Champagne or Franciacorta.
Fine bubbles and high quality taste from secondary fermentation in the bottle
The AWASAKE Association has established two standards for product development and quality, and defines sparkling sake that complies with these standards as AWASAKE.
The product development standards include six items such as "Carbon dioxide gas must derive only from natural fermentation during brewing", "The appearance should be visually clear, and a single bubble should appear when poured into a container after the bottle is removed", and "The alcohol content should be 10 degrees or higher”, etc. In terms of quality standards, "the flavor and quality must be stable at room temperature for at least three months.
AWASAKE, which is carefully produced using the same secondary fermentation process as Champagne, is characterized by its fine bubbles and the pure sweetness and aroma that only sake can provide. When poured into a glass, a beautiful stream of bubbles boils up. It goes well with meals and can be served at any table. It is recommended not only for the toast, but also for during meals.
Each brand of AWASAKE has its own characteristics. Why don't you enjoy the aroma and taste of each one?
Here, we will introduce two representative brands.
After 10 years of conceptualization and hundreds of trials and errors, it was completed in 2008. The dry taste makes it easy to pair with any dish. It has a cherry and lychee flavor, and its silky and fairy-like bubbles wrap around food. It has also been adopted by three-star restaurants in Europe.
Nanbu Bijin Awasake
It won first place in the sparkling sake category of the SAKE COMPETITION, a contest to determine the world's best sake, for two consecutive years. It has the refreshing taste of sparkling sake, but with a well-balanced aftertaste that leaves a strong rice flavor. The gentle mouthfeel and subtle ginjo aroma are pleasant.