Ginjō-shu・daiginjō-shu・junmai ginjō-shu・junmai daiginjō-shu

Ginjō-shu; daiginjō-shu; junmai ginjō-shu; junmai daiginjō-shu

Ginjo-shu is sake made from white rice at a rice polishing ratio below 60%, by the low temperature fermentation pattern known as ginjo zukuri (吟醸造り). It is one of the Tokutei Meisho-shu (Special Designation Sakes).

The style is characterized by light, smooth taste and by the flowery, fruity aromas known as ginjo-ka (吟醸香). Generally suited for drinking chilled or at the lower ranges of room temperature.

The flavour and aromatic characteristics of the style are drawn out by ginjo zukuri technique, but recent advances in improvements of yeast strains have led to the development of varieties producing large quantities of certain aromatic substances. For example, there are yeasts producing high concentrations of ethyl caproate (with apple-like aromatic characteristics) or isoamyl acetate (which gives banana-like aromas).

Within the ginjo group, those made from rice polished to less than 50% of its original size are called daiginjo. Recent years have seen more daiginjo made at polishing rates of 35-40%, with extreme examples at around the 10% mark. Furthermore, the group contains honjozo-style examples ( ginjo and daiginjo ) using the ingredients rice, kome-koji and brewer’s alcohol, and junmai-style versions ( – junmai ginjo and junmai daiginjo – ) made with rice and kome-koji alone. The tendency is for the alcohol-added type to drink somewhat lighter than “pure rice” examples.

The quantity of brewer’s alcohol which may be used is subject to the same restrictions as for honjozo-shu, though it is not uncommon for brewers working in the ginjo style to use less than the full permitted quantity.