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The “Beau Zone Layer” – Sawahime Ginjo

The “Beau Zone Layer” – Sawahime Ginjo

Tochigi Prefecture


SMV: +4.5 Acidity: N/A


Every year at London’s International Wine Challenge (IWC) Sake judging they select one sake that first won a gold, then won a Category Trophy, and then is in the running versus the other Category Trophy winners. The sake that emerges as the best sake of the Trophy winners is considered the Grand Champion Sake. This year in 2022 this exact sake won the award. Yes, it is the exact same batch/vintage/released Ginjo sake that won the award. Usually when a brewery wins this honor they put a tag or necker on every one of their bottles of the sake for years to come that says it won the 2022 Grand Champion Trophy. But, usually the year that the sake won sells out, and most of us can’t taste the exact bottle. Well, this is the exact bottle and we are certain as we asked the brewers themselves. So what is a Grand Champion sake? It’s the best representation of a category of sake. In this case it’s the Ginjo Category. In 2018 Okunomatsu from Fukushima won the Grand Champion Trophy for their Ginjo. This brew is different, and not as “Ginjo’ish.” It was aged for a year before release, and is more layered, full, and complex. And technically it’s a Daiginjo being milled to 50%. Is this a prototypical Ginjo sake? I’m not sure, but when I and the other Co-Chairs tasted it with the other Trophy winners it tasted like glorious Ginjo sake, so you be the judge! 

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