Sparkling Sake is a relatively recent development in Sake brewing history and it has only really grown in popularity over the last decade. Believed to be initially created to reclaim some of the lost alcohol sales from beer in Japan, it has more recently also become a way to encourage the younger Japanese generation to enjoy Sake again. With a wide range of flavours from the easy-drinking, sweet and fruity Sake with a low alcohol content to the higher alcohol content Sake which are crisper and drier in flavour profile.
As it is not categorised in its own right, it is apparently difficult to find statistics regarding the number of sparkling Sake now on the market and estimates range between 100 and 200 products which is less than 1% of all Sake produced.
Outside of Japan, sparkling Sake provides a great introduction to Sake due to it often being light and fruity. It is also served chilled. In the same way as for other Sake, it contains amino acids which are responsible for the “umami” savouriness or deliciousness, making it good for pairing with food.
There are two different ways in which sparkling Sake is produced. One method involves carbonating Sake but there is also a method where the Sake undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle in the same way as Champagne is produced. In either case, the balance between the residual sugars and acidity is key to the final flavour.
More recently, in November 2016, a new association was created by brewers who are producing sparkling sake called “awa Sake Kyokai” meaning the “Sparkling Sake Association” and there are now 9 members who are committed to elevating the quality of sparkling sake.
Whether you are a Sake novice or a seasoned drinker, you will enjoy drinking either Lachamte, which is delightfully fruity sparkling Sake with notes of strawberries and cream, or the Bijofu Yuzu Schwa which is a refreshing blend of 30% fresh yuzu juice from Kochi prefecture which has then been gently carbonated over the period of a week.