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Sake, Spring, and the Valley: Oakville Sommelier

Photo Credit: Cynthia Silversides Photo Credit: Cynthia Silversides

Photo Credit: Cynthia Silversides

During a recent visit to the Historic Distillery District in Toronto, I stopped by the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, the first of its kind in eastern North America. All of their sake is hand-crafted made with spring water (izumi) from Northern Ontario, similar to the Fushimi water famous in Japan. They make several varieties of unpasteurized (nama) sake ranging from their signature Nama-Nama which is light, smooth, and easy drinking, to their full-bodied Genshu which makes a great aperitif served on the rocks or at room temperature - I was told this is what most Japanese people drink.

Clearly there is much more to sake than the pasteurized kind you typically find on a shelf in your local liquor store. It was interesting to taste the flavours of their recent batches, #31: Vanilla, Melon, #32: Honeydew, and #33: Nutty, Cantaloupe, Juniper. They also produce Nama-Cho, their only bottle-pasteurized sake, and Teion Sakura which has acidity similar to white wine with notes of citrus and grass. You really have not experienced sake until you try the fresh flavours available directly from a sake brewery!

This spring you can also find fresh flavours in Niagara's Twenty Valley with a passport for one of their "Get Fresh in the Valley" weekends. Local chefs are preparing fresh spring flavours to accompany selected wines produced by the 24 area wineries participating this year.

Thinking about wine, what's happening in Oakville? Tre Amici is presenting at the next Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) meeting on April 26th. A little further away, the Food & Drink Fest is taking place in Hamilton from April 12th to 14th.

So there you have it: Sake, Spring, and the Valley