Depending on the brewing methods and the level of rice milling, the Tokutei Meishoshu classification categorizes different kinds of sake.
Rice must be polished for at least 30%. Distillate alcohol is added at the end of the fermentation process. The addition of alcohol has been done by brewers for ages, to decrease the costs of production and make a lighter taste and a stronger perfume. The Honjozo style is dry and soft at the same time. It is a good candidate for warm sake.
This is a pure rice wine, without any alcohol added. Rice must be milled for at least 30%. Junmai refers to pure sake in the sense that nothing is added after the process. It has a rich body and is a little bit more acidic than other sakes. Junmai is to be drank chilled or warm, depending on your own taste.
Genshu refers to sake without any adjunction of water. Adjunction of water is done to control the degree of alcohol and the final taste of the sake. In the case of Genshu, magic operates only by the fermentation of rice, underlining the high level of knowledge of Toji for production of great sakes.
Rice is polished at least 40%. Without alcohol added, it is called Junmai-Ginjo. The higher degree of rice milling requires special brewing conditions: a lower fermentation temperature and special yeasts must be added. Ginjo is more complex to access than other sakes. It has a light taste, slightly perfumed and very complex. One may drink Ginjo chilled or at room temperature.
At least 50% of rice milling is necessary (might reach 75% for some sakes). Alcohol can be added (Daiginjo) or not (Junmai-Daiginjo). Daiginjo means Great Ginjo. It is brewed with special attention, in the complete respect of purest traditions. He is the favourite product of Kura and considered as best sake in Japan. As well as for a great wine, its price can often reach very high levels. Daiginjo has a light and fruity taste. It is to be served chilled or at room temperature. However, it is necessary to be connoisseur to appreciate a Daiginjo to its real value.
This special denomination can be combined with all the sake kinds described previously. It means that the sake has not been pasteurised. There is something fresh and alive in this type of sake. It may be drank quickly, and must be kept in a cold room to avoid reactivating the enzymes that could trigger again the fermentation process.
Information originally found at Midorinoshima..