A Ginjo sake is defined by the following aromatic typicity: a fresh nose with floral and fruity aromas. On the palate, it is delicate and the fruity and floral flavors are distinct, mostly associated with notes of apple and white flowers. The acidity is variable, but less marked than for other categories of sake. To achieve this result, a certain number of technical parameters must be considered.
The polishing rate of the rice must be at least 60%. This minimum polishing removes proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals that are found in greater proportions in the outer parts of the grain. These elements are known to bring rich and complex aromas to sake (cereals, herbs, spices, etc...), some of which are avoided in the Ginjo category where delicate floral and fruity expressions are preferred. Polished to more than 60%, the work of fermentation will therefore be done on a grain composed almost exclusively of starch, and under particular temperature conditions.
Lower fermentation temperature. It is combined with the lack of nutrients (vitamins, minerals) to place the yeasts in stressful conditions that will allow the production of alcohol esters that are at the origin of the floral and fruity flavors of Ginjo.
Specific yeasts. Among the many strains of yeast used in fermentation, some have been identified for their ability to give sake very nice fruity profiles. Over time, they have been selected for specific use in the production of Ginjo. Although breweries often use their own yeasts, some commercial strains such as No. 9, 10, 14 or 18 are now well mastered and used specifically for ginjo sake.
A polishing rate of at least 50% defines a Daïginjo. "Daï" means "great" in Japanese and Daïginjo is therefore the superior evolution of Ginjo. For the production of a daïginjo the rice must necessarily be polished to more than 50% and the same types of yeast and rice can be used. However, there are specific strains of rice specific to Daïginjo, such as Yamadanishiki rice for example, and within this strain, some grades are more prestigious than others.
THE REPRESENTATIVE GINJO
We recommend that you start your discovery with Koï Koï Junmaï Ginjo sake from the Asahara Shuzo Brewery. It is a sake with a subtle nose, presenting discreet and refreshing aromas of flowers and white flesh fruits, melon, peach. The mouth is limpid, smooth, with notes of white flowers with a beautiful persistence of fruity aromas and a very light acidity. The finish is discreet and full of freshness.
Another ginjo on a slightly different style: Shichiken Junmaï Ginjo sake. It is fruity on the nose and in the mouth, with hints of green apple and citrus fruits. Its typical Ginjo freshness is the result of ultra careful work by the brewer, mainly thanks to very long fermentation at low temperatures.
Shichiken Junmai Ginjo
15% alc. vol.
To try a typical Daïginjo, we recommend Kameizumi, a sake with a lively nose with notes of green apple, young herbs and crisp grapes. Rich and dense flavors of ripe fruit. Fairly round in the mouth, it has exotic fruits, juicy pear and citrus fruits.
Alc. 15% vol.