Top 10 List – Ten IWC Medal Winning Sakes and Breweries!
Having just returned from judging the sake side of the International Wine Challenge in Kobe, Japan, which was the Tenth Anniversary for the sake component, I have complied a Top Ten List of Gold Medal, Medal, and Trophy Winning sakes that we carry at True Sake. So come grab some sakes that aren’t only awesome, but are so awesome that they won Gold in most cases.
10) Okunomatsu Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku (call to special order)
Yup! This brew won another Gold Medal for good reason, and we have been carrying it for all ten years of the IWC sake competition. It’s round lush and wonderfully silky in a cool beveled pop-top bottle.
9) Momokawa “Murai Family” Tokubetsu Honjozo
This old stalwart brewery from Aomori Prefecture goes under the imported name Murai Family and is one of the best honjozos in the business. Clean, round, and velvety it drinks smooth and bright.
8) Fukuju Junmai and Junmai Ginjo
This brewery not only did Hyogo proud by winning Gold at the 2016 IWC, it did it twice! Two gold medals from this kura means that they make excellent sake. Try either their Junmai or Junmai Ginjo and find out why two of their brews won Gold! (And thank you to Fukuju for hosting the IWC’s final night party!
7) Umenishiki Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo
This Gold Medal brewery makes superb sake! They just won Gold for their not-exported Honjozo, but guess what drinks even better? Their Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo! Great food pairing sakes from a stalwart brewery from Ehime Prefecture.
6) Sho Chiku Bai Sparkling Sake “Mio”
Well Well Well! Way to go SCB! This sparkling sake has been flying off the shelves at True Sake and their sister Mio from Hyogo Prefecture just won one of two Gold Medals for the Sparking sake category! Good job!
5) Hanahato “Gorgeous Bird” Kijoshu 8 Year-Aged
Basically this unique and extremely flavorful aged dessert sake wins a gold medal and a trophy every year! This year they only won Gold! Only! Taste this sake at least once in your sake travels. It goes great with dessert and cheese plates and drinks just like a sherry or a port.
4) Born “Wing of Japan”
This brewery is so awesome they won two Gold Medals for two of their Junmai Daiginjos. We always carry the Junmai Daiginjo called the Wing of Japan because it rocks. So much so it won Gold again! This is IWC sake personified!
3) Nanbu Bijin Shinpaku
Congrats to one of the fun breweries in all of sake. Nanbu Bijin just won a Gold Medal for their Honjozo sake that is not exported, but so many of their excellent sakes are sent over, including a super value Junmai Daiginjo called Zen and several other offerings from Junmai Ginjo to Tokubetsu Junmai. This is the brewery where the owner did the online appeal to help after the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
2) Taihezan “Tenko” Junmai Daiginjo
Again? They won another Gold Medal again? Yes indeed! This Akita Prefecture brewery is always wearing Gold for their excellent sakes, and Tenko is no exception. Their sister Junmai Daiginjo called Yushin pulled off the Medal, but usually Tenko gets the Gold.
1) Dewazakura Dewazakura Dewazakura
Three times really? You typed this brewery's name three times? Why? Well basically they won three GOLD Medals at this year’s IWC plus a trophy and that was on top of this brewery winning the achievement award for winning more medals and trophies over the past decade for the IWC than anybody. They are the darling of the IWC for good reason. They consistently make fantastic sake. We carry a ton of their offerings, but maybe you should try “Oka” first as it just won a Gold Medal and a Trophy for the Ginjo category.