Aug 27, 2020 - 04:30 PM
For sake, the connection between rice varieties and final product is not as direct as with wine. Part of the reason for this is that wine is a "simple" fermentation, with sugar already present in the grape.
Sake is brewed from rice, so the starch in rice must first be converted to sugar. There are more steps involved, so there is more of a transformation that takes place from start to finish.
That said, not all rice is the same. So over the years there are many varieties that have emerged for their unique qualities in both taste and suitability for the brewing process.
Yamada Nishiki, Gohyakumangoku, Miyama Nishiki, Omachi, and Akita Sake Komachi are the most commonly used sake brewing rice varieties of around one hundred total varieties. There are differences in flavor among them, but most folks would be challenged to pick them out from a blind tasting.
Although not as different as grape varieties in wine, rice varieties are a fun way to learn about and explore sake.
Thanks and kanpai!