The Kanzake Contest is divided into four categories with grand gold and gold awards for each category.
-Value for Money Warm Sake (45°C or 113°F): 720ml and under 1100 yen
-Value for Money Hot Sake (55°C or 131°F): 720ml and under 1100 yen
-Premium Hot Sake (55°C or 131°F): 720ml and over 1100 yen
-Special Warm Sake (45°C or 113°F): Nigori sake, koshu, tarusake, goku amazake, etc.
There were entries from 815 breweries all over Japan. 5% of them earned grand gold awards, 20% earned gold awards, and a total of 30% or 245 breweries earned an award. Japanese people tend to lean towards brands and breweries that have a history of titles and therefore, winning an award at this contest would leave an impression.
I’d like to give you my recommendations from the 2020 winners of the Kanzake contest.
-Oku no Matsu Special Junmai (Value for Money Warm Sake category gold award)
This brand has also won gold awards from Monde Selection and The Fine Sake Awards.
The label, written by the Japanese calligrapher Shimazaki, draws in the hearts of the Japanese. The taste of the sake is clear and fresh while the aroma is rich, making it easy to drink.
-Asahibare Kasen (Value for Money Hot Sake category gold award)
The brewery of Asahibare Kasen is DHC Brewery, which is a subsidiary company of DHC, known for cosmetics and health products. As this sake is smooth and has a clean finish, it can also be enjoyed cold.
-Masumi Kuro (Premium Hot Sake category gold award)
Kuro is a sake based on a sleek black lacquer concept by Masumi, one of the most famous sake brands in Japan. The bottle and label are black, giving it an expensive feel, but it has a sharp taste that does not get in the way of what you are eating.
This sake is similar in color to Shaoxing wine and is a mellow koshu, or aged sake. It can be enjoyed warm, cold, or on the rocks. Aged wine is distinctively mellow and goes well with sweets, for example, pouring it on vanilla ice cream is delicious.
Go ahead and refer to this list when you’re thinking about trying Kanzake.