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In the broader sense, the Japanese term for alcoholic beverages, in the narrower sense, is understood as meaning an alcoholic beverage produced from fermented rice. In Japan is the name for rice wine Nihonshu (Japan alcohol) or Seishu, as sake, he is usually named in Europe. Despite the name, however, it is much more like one beer as wine, since the sugar for fermentation must first be unlocked. Sake is still the national drink in Japan. He is since the 3rd century BC. Produced in Chr. At this time, the wet rice cultivation was introduced. Rites of the Shinto religion are reported, where rice was chewed by girls and then spit into jars. This had a fermentative effect, in which the rice starch was converted to sugar. By yeasts one came from the air spontaneous fermentation, The final product had only minor alcohol content and was consumed like porridge. From the 5th century were for fermentation fungal cultures used. The production of sake in Japan was initially limited to the imperial court and was gradually transferred to the monasteries. The bakery Gekkeikan from Kyoto has been producing sake since 1637.

Sake advertising poster for Sake 1916 and Shaoxing rice wine Huadiaojiu

First, the rice grains are "polished" (remove the bran layers), the stronger or the more, the finer the product. High-quality sake is removed up to half of the previous volume. The excess material is marketed as rice flour. Then the kōji (starter culture) is produced. For this purpose, part of the rice with the mold Aspergillus oryzae vaccinated, who the fermentation the strength in glucose (Grape sugar) promotes. Then a mixture of the koji, steamed rice and water is formed, and the fermentation by adding lactic acid and yeasts started. The result is a mixture with 18 to 20% vol alcohol content. This is squeezed to get the clear sake. If necessary, the alcohol content is lowered by adding water to 15% vol. The sake then matures in tanks for six to twelve months. The filling takes place in glass bottles and also in Tetra pack, The standard quality is called Futsu-shu with about 80% of the production volume. Everyone else will gespritet, These are Junmai-shu and Honjozo-shu (70% polished), Junmai Ginjo-shu and Ginjo-shu (60%), as well as Junmai Daiginjo-shu and Daiginjo-shu (50%).

Sake - drinking bowls and barrels

In winter, sake is often warmed to a temperature of 35 to 40 ° Celsius before being enjoyed and called aperitif or digestif drinking. This is called "put a hot stone on the stomach" . In summer, however, it is usually drunk cold and also served with ice cubes very cold at 7 ° Celsius. Sake is drunk from small wooden cubes (Masu), drinking bowls or small cups. A popular location for enjoyment are the souvenirs "Izakaya". Sake is not served with sushi, because the vinegared rice is not tolerated in terms of taste. Similar to sake is Mirin, a sweet rice wine with a lower alcohol content, which is only used for seasoning. In China Shaoxing rice wine, named after the city, is the best-known brand exported to around 50 countries. It is divided into more than ten varieties according to the content of sugar and alcohol. The most important after increasing sugar content are Yuanhongjiu, Jiafanjiu, Huadiaojiu, Shanniangjiu and Xiangxuejiu.

Complete listings of the numerous vinification measures and cellar techniques, as well as the wine-regulated wine, sparkling wine and distillate types are under the keyword winemaking contain. Comprehensive information on wine law is available under the keyword wine law,

Picture above left: From The Epopt - Transfer wikipedia , public domain , link
Picture above right: Fg2 Public domain , Link
Picture bottom left: From Unknown - Collection , Public domain, Link
Image right: From Bernt Rostad - flickr , CC BY 2.0 , Link

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