Nama Cho — Ontario Spring Water Sake Company

Wait a second, why are you reading a review about a rice wine on  Right? I mean, come on, it’s WINE.  Well friend, let me take a moment to defend myself:  What is wine?  It’s a fermented drink made from the juice of a fruit.  Sound fair?  What is beer?  A fermented drink made from grains.  Yes, most also have to have hops, but not all (gruits immediately pop to mind, and there are others).  What is Sake?  It’s a fermented drink made from rice (a grain). Hmmmmm, interesting.  Also, people “brew” sake, and the facility it’s made at, is thus called a brewery.  While I’m not arguing that sake is beer (it isn’t, it’s sake), sake and beer are much more closely related than sake and wine.  And as such, I’m happy to review it here.  Incidentally, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is the first sake brewery in eastern North America, and it’s right here in Toronto. If you like sake, you’ll want to check these guys out.  If you’re not sure if you like sake, you’ll want to check these guys out!

Nama Cho — Izumi

Nama Cho — Izumi 泉

From a 300ml bottle, Nama Cho pours clear, with just a trace of pale gold to the sake.  The aroma is delicate and floral, slightly grassy.  Traces of mineral earthiness come out with some gentle swirling.  There is just a touch of alcohol heat in on the nose.  Taste is amazing, and not like other sakes I’m used to having.  Sweet, with a rich silky body.  There is canteloupe, grass, chalk, and just a touch of a berry-like fruitiness that I think (and I know next to nothing about making sake), is from the yeast.  While I get tastes of rice, it’s more like getting different nuances of rice things, so that there is a sweet creaminess like rice milk, but it doesn’t really taste like rice milk.  There is a slightly nutty grainy quality, but it’s not at all grainy.  It’s lovely and makes me think I should be drinking more sake!  The finish is slightly fruity-tart, with just a touch of lingering sweetness, and a clean boozy heat that is just present enough to notice. While it’s not really “dry”, the touches of mineral/chalk do give some drying sensations, which make enough layers to require another glass.  Not surprisingly, I’m not at all bothered by the possibility.


Buy Nama Cho Sake

Available at the LCBO, #260174, and at their brewery in the Distillery District, 55 Mill St, Building 4, Toronto, Ontario.

Drink it With

No big surprise here, but sushi. But to demonstrate that I’m not a predictable and one-dimensional blog-fellow, let’s get specific:  Tuna belly sashimi.  The silky sake will compliment the rich fatty cut of fish, while the fruitiness and slight sweetness will provide balance to the fairly meaty fish. Leave the wasabi and soy sauce alone if it’s a great cut of fish, and only have the ginger if it was pickled in-house.

About the Brewery

The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, located in downtown Toronto’s Distillery Historic District, is eastern North America’s first sake brewery. Using traditional Japanese methods and recipes with delicious Ontario spring water, Torontonians and visitors alike can now enjoy fresh, unpasteurised, locally-brewed sake for the first time. Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is a member of the Brewing Society of Japan.

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