The sake will be evaluated by expert sake sommeliers, by blind tasting, divided in the following categories:
Special section (aged sake, yuzu sake, plum sake, sparkling)
*Categories are based on rice polishing ratio only, not on the presence of added alcohol. *The subcategories of aged sake, yuzu sake, plum sake, and sparkling will be judged separately within the special section. *Aged sake category includes only sake aged for at least 3 years (blending of sake less than 3 years old is not allowed). Any sake older than 3 years has to be assigned to the aged sake category. *Namazake (unpasteurized sake) cannot participate.
The prize levels awarded for the sake tasting competition are: Platinum, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
2) Food pairing competition
In this competition each sake will be evaluated by blind tasting while pairing with 5 of the most famous Italian dishes and desserts. This will award the prizes named "Best with..." for each of the 5 selected dishes
In addition, new in 2023, three "Parmigiano-Reggiano Special Awards" will be given by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Association. This blind tasting will be performed by official "Parmigiano Reggiano Assaggiatore" cheese tasters, certified by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Association. In order to provide an opportunity for different tasting sake to be awarded the prize, the three prizes will be based on pairing with Parmigiano-Reggiano with different levels of aging, therefore lighter or stronger taste. The winners of these awards will receive a whole Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel (weighing 40Kg), laser printed with the brewery logo and delivered to the brewery address.
3) Design competition
Design and fashion experts will judge the sophistication, attractiveness, and functionality of bottles, labels, caps, and boxes. This will award the prize for "Best design"
*All bottles entered will be judged in 1) Sake tasting competition, 2) Food pairing competition, and 3) Design competition.
4) General information
- Entry cost
Each sake enrolled will incur a 250 Euro entry fee (280 Euro if the sake will be delivered in Japan by February 28th 2023). Entry fee includes: Judges' comments for each Tasting Competition, Food Pairing Competition, Design Competition" translated into English. The judges' comments for the food pairing category, will include specific names of other dishes (other than the 5 that are being tasted with) that would pair well with the specific sake. All the organizational, judging and awarding costs.
2 bottles for each sake label entered need to be shipped to Italy The standard expected capacity of one bottle is 720ml If your standard bottle is 500ml, 750m or 900ml we will consider it close enough to the standard capacity. However if your standard bottle is of different capacity we ask you to provide a special bottle within those sizes.
Sample bottles need to be shipped to an address in Italy which will be provided after the entry. The producer is responsible for delivering the bottles intact and on time to the specified address. For shipments to Italy the producer is responsible for any customs fee and documentation required as well as any communication with the Italian customs office.
- Evaluation criteria For the tasting competition the Sake Sommelliers will perform individual blind tasting using wine glasses. Each sake will be evaluated on an absolute scale, not relative to other sake. Then the scores from each judge will be averaged and the sake with the highest % scores will be awarded the prizes. We will strive to ensure the most fair and thorough evaluation possible for each sake.
For the food pairing competition the Sake Sommelliers will perform blind tasting using wine glasses, in combination with eating 5 popular Italian dishes and desserts. For the three Parmigiano-Reggiano Special Prizes the evaluation will be performed by official Assaggiatore tasters, certified by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Association, Italy.
For the design competition the evaluation will be conducted separately from the tasting area, by experts in design and fashion, who will evaluate sophistication, attractiveness and functionality of bottles, labels, caps and boxes. - Application rules
All sake producers, distributors, exporters and importers are welcome to apply. All types of sake are accepted. (Junmai, Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo, Honjozo, Ginjo, Daiginjo, Plum sake, Yuzu sake. Sparkling, Aged ) Aged sake category includes only sake aged for at least 3 years (blending of sake less than 3 years old is not allowed). Any sake older than 3 years has to be assigned to the aged sake category. Namazake (unpasteurized sake) cannot participate. Two samples (720ml, 500ml, 750ml, or 900ml each) must be submitted for each exhibiting sake. Payment and sake information must be submitted by March 31st, 2023 at: www.milanosakechallenge.it
- Awards announcement The results will be announced on the official website of the Milan Sake Challenge on July 10th, and at the same time, will be announced to the media through a press release. The awards ceremony will be held in July at a location in Milan.
- Deliverables to breweries
All breweries will receive the judges' comment notes (Tasting, Food Pairing, and Design) for all sake entered, regardless of whether or not they won an award. Award-winning sake will receive a certificate of commendation. In order to expand sales of award-winning sake, we will provide a source for printing official promotional materials (award-winning stickers, neck-hanging POP), as well as electronic data of award-winning medal designs and competition logo data (with restrictions on use).
- Advertising use of participating sake Following the competition, the event will continue with a part called "Fuori Mlano Sake Challenge". We will invite media, restaurants and bar operators, industry buyers and other sake enthusiasts to taste the participating sake free of charge. This is a way to expand sake popularity in Italy and in particular to promote awareness of the participating brands within the sake buying community. In case you don't want your sake to be used for this event and you prefer it destroyed, you will have the opportunity to opt out during the registration process.