True Stories – Chris Mines the Newsletter Archives (International Wine Challenge)
The original column was penned back on April 20, 2018.
Greetings fellow Sake Fans and Connoisseurs,
Chris here, back at it with another "Mining the Archives." This time around, I revisit an "Ask Beau" column (a column that I'd like to bring back as a "True Sake Mailbag" section) that asks the questions, "Are you ready for the IWC?"
I think it's a good question in 2022, as the bossman Beau Timken will be getting on a jet plane en route to London for the International Wine Challenge this year. Wow! The pandemic has put the world in a weird place for the past couple of years, and I'm excited to hear that the International Wine Challenge will be back. I can't speak for Beau-san, but I'm going to guess the answer is "YES!"
What is the International Wine Challenge, you ask? This is what I pulled from their website:
About the competition (審査会について)
The International Wine Challenge (IWC) is one of the world's most prestigious blind tasting boards, founded in 1984. The SAKE division has grown exponentially since it was founded in 2007, making it the largest and most influential event of the Sake Review Board outside Japan.
インターナショナル・ワイン・チャレンジ（IWC）は1984年に設立された世界的に最も権威あるブラインドテイスティング審査会の一つです。SAKE部門は2007年に設立されて以来飛躍的に成長し、日本国外で行われる日本酒審査会としては最大かつ最も影響力のあるイベントになっています。*Kept the nihongo in there just for fun.
The IWC is a competition that judges sakes that are on the consumer market. Meaning, you can't just make a sake for the competition. This has to be a sake that the general public can try. There are competitions out there where entrants make the best possible sake they can, but it's not scalable, or it's meant for sake judges only. So essentially, the IWC competition is a competition for the people, which is great for us, the retail sake consumer!
Who will win this year? I can't wait to find out. We carry Heiwa Shuzo, which has won Brewery of the Year 2019 and 2020 back to back. All of their sakes are fantastic and highly recommended. They're a younger team of brewers in their 30's, which is not common in Japan. I personally am a big fan of their Kid Junmai, which is great chilled or room temp. Probably one of my favorite one cups on the shelves right now.
We also carry Tatsuriki Daiginjo Kome no Sasayaki Yk-35 (LEGENDARY BREWER ALERT!) which won the 2021 Hyogo Daiginjo Trophy, as well as the Hanahato Kijoshu Aged for 8 years which won the 2021 Hiroshima Koshu Trophy. If you are curious about trying a Koshu, try the Hanahato! I'm working on getting some other IWC medal winners on the True Sake shelves, so please stay tuned!
And that's a wrap! Thanks for reading another remix from me. Till next time!