Ryoga Nakamura

・MSc Viticulture/Oenology, Vinifera Euro Master, SupAgro
・Awarded for Sommelier Scholarship Competition by Japan Sommelier Association in 2022


 Sakeist Box Webinar in August, we welcomed Japan's and the world's leading sake breweries, Mr. Nakano from Dewazakura-Shuzo. We tasted their sake and talked about their history.



 Dewazakura-Shuzo was established in 1892 in Tendo City, Yamagata Prefecture. When it comes to sake from Yamagata Prefecture, it is known as GI Yamagata, the first prefecture in Japan to receive GI certification as a prefecture. Sake made from soft water from melting snow in the mountains has a clear taste and is famous for its Ginjo style brewed at low temperatures. Dewazakura has been a leader of that style of sake in Yamagata Prefecture. They released “Ouka-Ginjo” in 1980. At that time, Ginjo-shu was only available for competition and was not distributed to the general public. They released it at a reasonable price and sparked the Ginjo boom.



 We tasted three sake, “Ouka-Ginjo”, “Yukigami 48”, and “Yukimegami 35”.

Ouka-Ginjo” is a blend of Dewa-Sansan and Haenuki rice with 50% polishing ratio. The aroma is delicate and elegant, with hints of anise and fennel, and no hint of alcohol. On the palate, it is pure and delicate, with a volume that spreads through the mid-palate and a fresh finish. Dewa-Sansan is Yamagata's representative sake rice, and it is said to be suitable for Ginjo and Junmai Ginjo.


"Yukimegami 48" is a Junmai Daiginjo with a 48% rice polishing ratio, using Yukimegami as the sake rice. It has a slightly spicy aroma like white pepper and a generous flavor, but it is very fresh and has a refreshing finish.


"Yukimegami 35" is a Junmai Daiginjo with a 35% rice polishing ratio, using Yukimegami as the sake rice. The aroma is very complex, with spicy notes such as cumin. On the palate, the volume expands further with some sweetness, which makes it a very gastronomic sake.



 In Yamagata, there is a trilogy of sake rice called

Dewanosato”, which is suitable for Junmai and Honjozo.

Dewa-Sansan”, which is suitable for Ginjo and Junmai Ginjo.

Yukimegami" which is suitable for Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo.

Compared to Yamadanishiki, Yukimegami is said to have less sweetness and produces a crisp, fresh Junmai Daiginjo. To make the most of this, the process of low-temperature fermentation at 10 degrees celsius or lower is important. This produces a gorgeous aroma and is considered one of the characteristics of Dewazakura.

Dewazakura also has created all koji for all types of sake without using machines, which requires very hardwork without sleeping at the brewery. This is the very rare sake breweries in Japan. The entire process is done by hand, and their sake has won numerous awards around the world, making it one of the most awarded sake breweries in Japan.






“Dewazakura Ouka Ginjo”



“Yukimegami 48”