Sake and the Wines of Japan by Anthony Rose

About the Book

Welcome to the "new sake"!


Until recently it had seemed that the industry was in decline but now the market for premium sake has seen sales flourish both within Japan and worldwide.


Many misconceptions surround Japan's national drink, from how it is brewed to the relative merits of ginjojunmai and nama types and from the ideal serving temperature to its ageing potential. Anthony Rose's new book aims to bring clarity to the confusion surrounding this fascinating drink.


Beginning with sake's long history, Rose takes us on a journey across the centuries to explain how the industry evolved. Sake has been brewed in Japan for more than 2000 years, though the process only really took off during the Edo period (in Western terms, between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries). The drink's long history also makes it culturally important and no study of sake would be complete without an exploration of its role in ceremony and religion, and the myths, legends and stories that surround it.


Rose begins his technical notes on sake with an explanation of the different grades of sake. Labelling rules and regulations are given due consideration in order to enable readers to understand the labels on their bottles before the discussion moves on to an analysis of sake's flavours.


The production process and the structure of an industry that includes 1200 breweries across 47 prefectures, from the small and artisan to major commercial concerns, are covered in detail. The part played by climate and geography in sake's flavours is explored along with an investigation into the differences imparted by the water, rice, yeast and koji (fermentation mould) used.


Rose devotes an entire section to profiling the most important breweries across the main sake-producing regions and also includes details on the more recently emerged non-Japanese producers. With thorough appendices for those who want to delve further into the statistics this is an essential addition to the library of the serious wine enthusiast or student.



"Rose had my attention right from the start ... He has a knack for taking the foreign and complicated, and laying it out in such a way that it becomes clear without losing any of the mystery in the process. If you picked up this book completely indifferent to sake, you wouldn't make it 60 pages in without getting online to see where you could find a sake tasting ... well worth reading."

Tamlyn Currin,


*Shortlisted in the Drink Book of the Year category (2019) - Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards


About the Author

Award-winning wine and sake critic Anthony Rose writes for Decanter, The World of Fine Wine, Financial Times How to Spend It online and The Oxford Companion to Wine. He is co-chair of the Australia panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the Sake International Challenge in Tokyo and teaches a sake consumer course at Sake No Hana in London. A founder of The Wine Gang (, he was the wine correspondent of the print version of the Independent from start to finish (1986-2016).


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Sake and the Wines of Japan by Anthony Rose

  • Publisher: Infinite Ideas Limited 
    ISBN: 9781906821623 
    Number of Pages: 390 
    Weight: 500g 
    Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm


    VAT: all books sold in the UK are zero-rated