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Sake Moments – The Results of IWC 2017 and How You Can Taste The Medals

Sake Moments June 2017 A

Tadah! The results for the International Wine Challenge are in and guess what? You win! As you know, this sake challenge event judges commercial sakes that are available to the entire sake industry. The IWC does not admit sakes that are not for the general public. The result is we judge sakes for what they are – sakes made for you! There were some very surprising results this year, but the good news is so many sakes that received medals are at your disposal. And yes, even the trophy winning sakes.

Our goal this year is to match you with as many medal winning sakes that you want, and there are a lot! And over the next month we will be putting together IWC Special Sake Packs that will feature a few medal winning sakes together for your perusal.

Sake Moments June 2017 B

We have a few offerings that won gold medals. We have a ton of sakes that won silver medals. We have lots of Bronze medal sakes and many “Commended” sakes in the store. Not all of the sakes that were submitted to the IWC are available in the US. This makes getting a lot of the sakes difficult. But, we also carry sakes from breweries that medaled at the IWC, so it’s sort of like saying the rest of their offerings are medal worthy.

I’ve always said that you cannot drink a gold medal. One person’s Gold is another person’s Bronze etc, etc. It’s obviously very subjective. The point of the IWC tasting is to judge and reward sakes purely in the silo of their category. That said, an, “iffy” sparkling sake can win a Silver medal and a super tasty store favorite Daiginjo can be awarded a Bronze. Is it fair? Yes, in the context of tasting and judging in each category, this competition is as fair as it can be. But don’t tell that to KJ at True Sake. She has a bone to pick with the IWC when Hanahato Kijoshu gets a Bronze Medal and Sho Chiku Bai Classic made in Berkeley receives a Silver. I told her that they weren’t judged against each other, rather each category was judged individually.

Is the IWC perfect? No! As a Co-Chair I will be the first to tell you this. But I certainly feel that it does the most justice to a sake versus its peers. Plain and simple, we have 60 of some of the best sake palates in the world tasting sakes blind and judging them on their category merits. In this regard, each and every year there are some head scratchers for sure. And this year there were a lot of those sakes that make you say “Wha?”

Sake Moments June 2017 C

But one sake didn’t make me say “Wha?” and that was a brew produced by our very own Jake Myrick from Sequoia Sake here in SF! It takes some balls to enter a competition with some of the best producers to ever make sake in the history of Japanese sake. But Jake did! And good on him for that! Did Jake medal? Nope! But he did earn a “Commend” and that is a big deal! So big that some of the most popular sakes sold at True Sake including Born Gold, Ozeki Chobei, Eiko Fuji JG, Fukuju Junmai, Ginban Banshu, Hakkaisan Snow Aged JG, etc also received a Commend! So hat’s off to Jake for doing sake proud! Way to go sir!

Click here to check out Sequoia's success!

Herewith are the links to each category. Take a look for yourself. You will see a lot of the breweries that you recognize, and a lot of sakes that we carry! We have some Trophy sakes, a few golds, a ton of silver medal winners, lots of bronze and good amount of commends.





And herewith is a list compiled by KJ that matches our current inventory or sakes that we can easily get for True Sake and this is your chance to taste the medals!


Taiheizan Tenko Kimoto Junmai Daiginjo "Heavenly Grace"

Dewazakura “Sparkling”

Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai

(These three sakes won Gold Medals and Trophies for each of their categories)


Born Yume wa Masayuma Junmai Daiginjo "Dreams Come True"

Suehiro Densho Yamahai Junmai "Ancient Method"

Suehiro Gensai Daiginjo

Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo "Otter Festival"

Denshin Junmai Daiginjo "First Class"

Dewazakura Daiginjo "Mountain Cherry"

Dewazakura Ichiro Junmai Daiginjo "Abbey Road"

Tsukasabotan Junmai Ginjo Fu-in "Brewer's Crest"

Fukuju Junmai Ginjo "Happy Brewery"

Gunma Izumi Honjozo "Famous Fountain"

Harushika Junmai Daiginjo "Spring Deer"

Ichinokura Suzune "Chiming Bells"

Ichinokura Suzune Wabi Sparkling

Koshi No Kanbai Tokusen Ginjo "Vanishing Point"

Shirataki Noujun Uonuma Junmai "80%"

Tengumai Yamahai Junmai "Dance of the Demon"

Urakasumi Junmai Daiginjo"


Sasaiwai Muroka Junmai"

Hanahato Kijoushu "Gorgeous Bird"

Ichinokura Junmai Daiginjo "Kura no Hana"

Kuroushi Junmai Ginjo "Black Bull"

Katafune Junmai Ginjo "Lagoon Boat"

Kiku Masamune Taru "Sake Barrel"

Koshi No Kanbai Chotokusen Daiginjo "Pinnacle of Perfection"

Tsukinokatsura Yanagi Junmai Ginjo "Willow Tree"

Yuho Kimoto Junmai "Rhythm of the Centuries"

Yuki No Bosha Yamahai Junmai "Cabin in the Snow"


Born Junmai Daiginjo "Gold"

Sequoia Coastal Junmai Ginjo

Born Nihon no Tsubasa Aged Junmai Daiginjo "Wing of Japan"

Ozeki Osakaya Chobei Daiginjo "First Boss"

Eiko Fuji Jumai Ginjo Namachozo "Glorious Mount Fuji"

Fukuju Junmai Daiginjo Black Label

Ozeki Hana-Awaka "Sparkling Flower"

Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo "Chokai Mountain"

Ozeki Karatamba Honjozo "Dry Wave"

Kotsuzumi Rojo Hana Ari Junmai Daiginjo "Bloom on the Path"

Masumi Sanka Junmai Daiginjo "Mountain Flowers"

Ozeki Judan Jikomi Junmai Daiginjo

Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Daiginjo

Umenishiki Junmai Daiginjo "Gorgeous Plum"

Ura Gasanryu Honjozo "Koka"

Choryo Yoshinosugi Omachi Taru Yamahai Junmai "Cedar Country"

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