Wine glass specialist, Riedel, has officially launched its state-of-the-art Junmai saké glass on the Australian market today, with a comparative tasting workshop.
The event, hosted by Wolfgang Angyal, President of Riedel Japan, and Yukino Ochiai, Saké Samurai and Educator, showcased the glassware producer’s latest glass design through a tasting of classic Junmai saké in three distinct vessels – the traditional o-choko, the Riedel Restaurant Riesling glass and the Extreme Junmai Glass.
The comparative tasting clearly highlighted the need for the new vessel; as the Extreme Junmai Glass’ wide rim allowed the grain-inflected, woody and sherry-like aromas of the rich Jumai saké to fully open up. These aromas become overbearing when served in a close-mouthed glass. The diamond-shaped base of the glass controls the flow of the liquid, ensuring it lingers on the tongue to reveal the saké’s silky texture.
The challenge of creating a Junmai glass is that the category does not have a set aroma or flavour profile. In comparison to Daiginjo sakés, the Junmai style has a range of complex flavours and aromas. Due to the way in which Junmai is made, the flavour profile can range from dry and straightforward, to vibrant and fruity or rich and earthy. This is because the term ‘Junmai’ does not refer to the rice-polishing ratio of the saké, or ‘seimaibuai’, but to the fact that it does not contain any added distilled alcohol. With no minimum seimaibuai or rules pertaining to the style, the flavour profile can vary drastically.
As a result, it took 170 brewers and saké experts consulting with Riedel in 42 workshops over eight years to create the newly released Junmai glass. The controlled blind tastings that were conducted featured more than 120 types of Junmai from every region of Japan.
With more and more consumers interested in Japanese culture, Junmai’s ability to pair well with food will make it an increasingly attractive drink. The long, elegant stem fitted to the glass will, as 10th generation family member Georg Riedel says, “elevate the sake to the level of wine at the table.”
Riedel recommends using the Junmai glass for full-bodied and umami-dense types of Junmai, such as Kimoto and Yamahai, or complex, aged brews with notes of caramel, dried fruit and mushroom.
Aromatic and lighter types of saké, such as Daiginjo, Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo and Junmai Ginjo, are recommended served in Riedel’s Vinum Daiginjo Glass.