The Yamaguchi Sake Awards 山口県新酒鑑評会 is the prefectural step on the way to the Japan Sake awards 全国新酒鑑評会 and this year they were held on April 14. I was able to go to the awards dinner on the evening and got a chance to taste a gathering of all the best sakes in the prefecture, as well as meet the men and women behind them.
I was also brought up on stage to talk about my love of sake and Yamaguchi in front of them all, but that’s another story.
The awards were divided into the Ginjo division, the Junmai division, and the Saito no Shizuku. Ginjo and Junmi both were awarded one Highest Honor award (最優等賞) and multiple Honor awards, while Saito no Shizuku received Special Honorable Mention (特別奨励賞) and Honorable Mention awards, as they are Yamaguchi-only and aren’t judged by the same national standards as Ginjo and Junmai divisions.
The Ginjo Highest Honor went to Nishikitai Gokyo 錦帯五橋 from Iwakuni’s Sakurai Shuzo, and the Junmai went to Hagi’s Choyo Fukumusume Yamada Nishiki 長陽福娘山田錦 from Hagi’s Iwasaki Shuzo. Ginjo also saw 8 Honor awards, with 6 going out in the Junmai division.
The Saito no Shizuku division had one Special Honorable Mention award, going to Seiryu Nishikikawa from Iwakuni’s Horie Shuzo, and 11 honorable mention awards.
In addition, the Toji for each winning kura was given a Certificate of Commendation.
And then, of course, there were 21 kura offering their best products, which I will talk about next time, because there were some amazing sakes needing specific attention.