The net of knowledge that a sommelier must cast includes more than just wine.  Everything that is liquid must be known. Beer, spirits, coffee, tea and an often forgotten drink called sake. Over the course of two days last week I felt like I had tasted all the sake in Japan. But after some further research I realized that I had only scratched the surface. Sake is a drink that is made from rice – but not the rice that you have for dinner. The rice on your plate is smaller and contains more protein. There are over 80 varieties of shuzō kōtekimai or sake rice. It is akin to the difference between the table grapes that you eat and the Chardonnay grapes that make wine. The best variety of rice used for sake is Yamadanishiki. However Gohyakumangoku, Miyamanishiki and Omachi are also common. The rice used in the production of sake can come from anywhere, meaning that a bottle of sake can be made from rice from multiple locations. However, there is a growing trend toward single origin sakes. The quality level of sake starts with the rice polish. The large sake grade rice grain contains excessive amount of bran in the outer layers. […]