Osake Granville Island Junmai Nama Nigori, Craft Sake

Well, this is the first Sake write-up for my site. For me – like many of you – Sake brought to mind warm and fume-y concoctions served from pretty containers in sushi restaurants… That is, until recently.

Earlier this year, a corner of the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival changed all that. I tasted some beautiful variations of Japanese rice wine, including a few from the artisan Sake makers based right here in Vancouver, Osake.

After trying their wines at the festival, I resolved to making a trip to their studio to try more of them… and I hadn’t until last weekend. We were out doing the tourists-in-our-own-town thing – having a wander around Granville Island – when I remembered that the Sake studio was located in Railspur Alley. You know what happened next – we went, we tasted… and I grabbed a couple of bottles to take home. It won’t be the last time.

In their words, “Osake is the first ‘fresh premium’ Junmai Sake [Namazake] of its kind produced in Canada.” I’m glad they’re here in town. 🙂

They have three Sakes: the fresh and brightly flavoured Junmai Nama, the cloudy and fruity Junmai Nama Nigori and the full and round Junmai Nama Genshu. Tonight, I popped the Junmai Nama Nigori open to have with some sushi.

This is a pretty cool drop. It’s unfiltered and has a cloudy sediment that mixes into the wine with a little movement. In the glass it looks like watered-down skim milk. A sniff brings up lychee nut and sweet rice. A sip gives up a medium-bodied bunch of that juicy lychee along with honeydew melon and a bit of tannin and booze on the finish (it clocks in at 14%).

It went pretty bloody well with some wasabi-laden sushi tonight and I can also see it going really well with some spicier Asian dishes. It’s really tasty stuff.

I won’t pretend to be anything of a Sake expert… Hell, I’m just getting into the stuff, but this isn’t a bad place to start. Go try some, especially from a quality maker. You’ll be glad you did.

~$30 at Osake on Granville Island.

3 1/2 stars

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