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  • 2022 RESULTS


    Judging procedure:
    Before judging, a lecture was given to all judges to ensure fairness.

    Start of judging:
    Using wine glasses, the judging in the sake tasting category was conducted exclusively by blind tasting, and the scoring method was based on an absolute evaluation of each individual sake, as opposed to a relative evaluation based on comparisons.
    In order to ensure fairness, the scores given by the individual judges for each category were added up and averaged to give a final grade (%) for each sake.

    In the food pairing category judging, the wines were tasted blind with each Italian dish, using a wine glass. The sake were judged alongside typical Italian foods and desserts popular in Japan, such as:

    • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese DOP,
    • Parma ham DOP
    • Seafood pasta
    • Tomato and mozzarella caprese
    • Tiramisu

    The judges determined the best combination of sake and Italian food that could bring out the best of each other's flavour characteristics.

    The design judging panel included design and fashion experts and designers from Milan, Italy, who are active at the cutting edge of design and fashion, to judge the sophistication, attractiveness and functionality of the bottles, labels, caps and boxes.

    Judging section:
    Judging took place in four categories:

    • junmai daiginjo and daiginjo
    • junmai ginjo and ginjo
    • junmai and honjozo
    • special categories (sparkling sake, old sake, yuzu and umeshu.

    Judging criteria:

    • Visual judgement of product appearance, type and gloss (depending on the category)
    • Aroma and fragrance examined by nose
    • Flavour and taste ascertained by mouth
    • Final general assessment of sake based on co-ordination of nose and mouth residence time

    • General evaluation based on harmony between food and sake (food pairing assessment)
    • Judging of the refinement of the appearance of the label, bottle, cap, box, etc. (design judging).

    The jury of the tasting panel is composed mainly of top wine sommeliers and sake sommeliers who have been awarded Italy's number one wine sommelier, as well as qualified sake sommeliers certified by the Italian Sake Sommelier Association, restaurant owners, chefs, bartenders, sellers and other people living in Italy and strongly involved in the Italian food and drink industry.

    One of the characteristics of the Milan Sake Challenge is that all members of the jury are qualified sake sommeliers with a sound knowledge of sake.
    They are also all highly interested in sake, having been constantly involved with sake through restaurants, bars and sales.

    In the design category, experts from the design and fashion worlds were invited to judge the sophistication, attractiveness and functionality of the bottles and labels, a judging process unique to the Milan Sake Challenge.

    A total of 82 members of the jury - 62 in the sake tasting and food pairing categories and 20 in the design category - were involved in the judging.


    The 2022 edition of Milan Sake Challenge took place on Monday 20 June 2022 at the Hotel Nhow Milano in Milan, Italy.

    A total of 82 judges - 62 from the Tasting and Food Pairing Section and 20 from the Design Section - judged a total of 408 labels.

    Award-winning sake:
    In the sake tasting category, Platinum, Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were selected, with 10% of the total winning each award.

    In the food pairing judging category, the Best Food Pairing Award was selected, with 5% of the total winning each award.

    In the design judging category, the Best Design Award was selected, with 10% of the total winning their respective awards.