Sake Efforts - The International Wine Challenge Judges 468 Sakes!
I have been a judge for the event for two years - was supposed to judge last year but that darn volcano in Iceland sent a volcanic ash cloud over Europe that closed airports. Most of the Japanese judges and I got screwed by the cloud! No tasting for us! (How many natural disasters must cross my path? Geesh!)
Herewith is a quick email that I sent from the event and then I will go into greater detail in the June Newsletter after the medalists are announced on May 17th. (International Wine Challenge »)
|The most sakes to date 468. The quality was amazing. The disparity between the western palate and the Japanese palate has also closed quite a bit.....several years back the two tastes were miles apart.... this time very similar....same judges too....interesting. I still don't know the results myself... the grand champion was one of the best sakes that I've ever tasted..... They also did some new categories this year..... Junmai - Junmai Ginjo/Junmai Daiginjo - Honjozo - Ginjo/Daiginjo - Koshu. We also tasted in a new order - as I typed above.....last two years started with Honjozo... Finally - as I and many other judges from Japan could not make it to London (volcano ash) last year they filled our slots with wine sommeliers, who had a real problem judging the sakes without thinking in terms of food pairings. Many selected sakes for their food pairing abilities.... There was a long discussion about not thinking in this regard this year. I had a very good time speaking about the trends that we have both been a part of for the past ten years. What stands out most for me was the overall quality of the sakes. Truly fantastic.|
Not only was I the sake panel chairman, but I was also asked to speak at the Master Class seminar immediately following our tasting. I initially intended to speak about the marketing, branding, and movement of sake in the West for the past decade, but I felt compelled to speak about the disaster as well. One of the audience members was a woman by the name of Keiko Yamamoto, who is a sushi guru and has her own website called Sushi Queen and she shot her own phone video of my talk. It's a little "handheld," but you can get the gist of the discussion.
Youtube - SushiLesson's Channel »
Again, I will speak more about the IWC in the June Newsletter. Likewise please see this month's "True Sake In The News" where you will find a Japan Times article about the tasting and panel discussion thereafter.