With more than thousands of items available in the market, choosing a sake can be a puzzling experience. In response to those in need of help, from this month onwards, Saketora is inviting Mr. Naoya Namisato, a rising star in the sake world, to make recommendations for us. Young yet professional, Mr. Namisato's portfolio is stunning - not only was he ranked No.4 in the 5th World Kikisakeshi Competition, he has also won the 3rd Mr. Sake Contest, hosted by Sake Samurai Mr. Sugihara, and is a Super-Kikisakeshi, a qualification only 300 people have successfully obtained in the world. This month, Mr. Namisato is selecting three sakes for all of us. In the eyes of a professional sommelier, how would exactly a fine sake be like?

Judging Criteria of Mr. Namisato

Saketora - Judging Criteria of Mr.Namisato
Saketora - Judging Criteria of Mr.Namisato
Fine Sake Awards 2019 Grand Gold Medal -
Hourai Ginjo Dento Karakuchi
Fine Sake Awards 2019 Grand Gold Medal
Hourai Ginjo Dento Karakuchi
Primary aromas are simple and fresh while the first attack is dry as its name suggests, though you may feel a hint of sweetness if you savour. The finish shows enough acidity and bitterness that help cleanse the palate. With its clean mouthfeel, it pairs well with a wide variety of food and is one of the best choices of drinks for dinner. Rather than heavy meals, simple dishes such as Tofu with bonito flakes may go better with this sake.
Fine Sake Awards 2019 Grand Gold Medal
Yamatan Masamune Junmai Daiginjo
Fine Sake Awards 2019 Grand Gold Medal
Yamatan Masamune Junmai Daiginjo
It shows crisp and fresh aromas with a hint of unpeeled apples. Following the gentle sweetness is the high acidity that helps reset your palate. Despite showing high fragrance, it is topped off with a clean finish. Imagine this is exactly like how its name suggests - Masamune, a famous Japanese sword, that is sharp and light. No wonders, you will never get enough of it. It is better served slightly chilled in wine glass together with mild Japanese food such as pickled plum pasta.
Kuromatsu Senjo
Kuromatsu Senjo "On a night like this…" Junmaiginjo
It shows rich aromas such as ripe banana and yogurt. The first attack is acid, followed by a hint of bitterness and umami. Speaking of "a night like this", I doubt probably it is not a sweet night. This fresh sake will complement the dishes that have rich flavors such as tomato stew.
What is Mr. Sake Contest?
Mr. Sake Contest is organized by Sake Samurai, Mr. Sugihara, in the aim of promoting Japanese sake culture to the whole world by looking for the gentleman who have both deep and broad knowledge about sake and its culture. In 2018, the 3rd edition was held and won by Mr. Namisato.

Young Sake Talent, Mr. Naoya Namisato
Young Sake Talent, Mr. Naoya Namisato

We have all heard about Kikisakeshi, a qualified sake sommelier. The upper level is considered as Sakesho, which only accounts for 1% of the holders of Kikisakeshi and is just held by around 300 people in the world. Then, one more advanced level is SSI Laboratory Official Taster. Not only is Mr. Namisato a Sakesho, but also a SSI Taster (World No.60), which he has become since his 20s as the second youngest memeber who got this qualification. Apart from that, he is also the youngest member in the Jizake Kensho Kenkyukai, an organization formed by a group of sake professionals to taste and comment on sakes all over Japan. Besides sake, he also has a deep understanding in all kinds of alcohol. Being a sommelier certificated by Japan Sommelier Association and a HBA Cocktail Advisor, he can analyse sake in different angles and know how to suggest sakes to foreigners in accordance with their needs.

-Recent qualifications

Winner of the 3rd 'Mr. Sake Contest (Nov, 2018) Top 4 in retail service group of the 5th World Kikisake-shi Competition (Feb, 2019)

-Other qualifications related to wine and sake

SSI Kikisakeshi (Japanese sake sommelier)
SSI Interntional Kikisakeshi
SSI Sakesho
SSI Laboratory Official Taster
Member of SSI Jizake Kensho Kenkyukai
Master of the Brewing Society of Japan Kikisaka
HBA Cocktail Advisor
HBA Beverage Advisor
JSA sake sommelier
WSET Level3 Advanced Certificate
WSET Wine&Spirits Diploma candidate