Common name (Japanese 酒sakɛ) in Europe for rice wine. The term sake is used in the Occident regardless of the origin of the product; the term "Japanese sake", on the other hand, is a protected term. In Japanese, the word sake (honourably pronounced o-sake) only refers in a narrower sense to seishu or nihonshu, meaning rice wine. This is because sake is also a collective term for wine, beer and alcoholic beverages in general. Colloquially, nihonshu is common, while seishu is the technical term, so to speak. To avoid misunderstandings, these two terms should therefore be used. Despite the name, however, sake is much more like beer than wine, as the sugar must first be broken down for fermentation. Sake is still the national drink in Japan.
For me, Lexicon from wein.plus is the most comprehensive and best source of information about wine currently available.Egon Mark
Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)