Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Big Chill meets East...

Hello again. I'm making a second post, which I suspect is a good sign. I've been thinking about what I want to write about on this blog, and I decided that I should write about a number of things. Those of you who know me know that my family and I recently moved to Ottawa. We're enjoying the city immensely, despite being in the depths of winter. Or perhaps it’s because the kids are experiencing their first real winter.

We certainly didn’t get much of that in Windsor. It’s been a big change, but the kids seem to have adapted well. Anna, on the other hand…




One of the challenges that I have found living in Ontario, one that certainly isn’t unique to Ottawa, is the inability to find good sake. It was abysmal in Windsor, and has only improved slightly since our move here. For those of you who aren’t in Ontario, all alcohol, with the exception of beer, is sold through a provincial store (called the LCBO – Liquor Control Board of Ontario). Needless to say, having a single distributor in the province means that the selection is not particularly good, and getting my hands on a reasonable bottle of sake has been challenging.

Generally, sake is broken into 2 categories, with subdivisions within each category addressing the quality of the sake (or specifically, as I understand it, the amount of milling the rice goes through prior to the brewing process). Of the two main categories of sakes – those made by adding alcohol, and those made without the added alcohol, I prefer those without added alcohol. I’m currently trying to get the LCBO to import one in particular: Juyondai – Junmai Ginjo.

I have yet to try this particular sake, but it's been recommended as a top pick by a number of people to me. The kura , or distillery is in the Yamagata prefecture, and is well known for it's sake throughout Japan. However, the Juyondai brand name has only been used in the last few years. Juyondai indicates that this is the 14th generation that the kura has been in operation, and so only came into use when the 14th president took over. As I understand it, this sake tends to be a little more fruity, with a bit more body than some of the other popular Japanese picks, so I'm definitely curious to try it out. I’ve only really just started my hunt for this sake. A couple of e-mails that have bounced back, and I’m planning on stopping into a store this afternoon that I’m hoping can help out. I’ve been told that LCBO will specially import items for customers, but that the catch is you have to bring in a case, rather than a bottle. However, as I understand it, what defines a case is rather loose, and could be 2 bottles, rather than a dozen, or even 6. I'm planning on hitting the Rideau and King Edward LCBO, so I'll let you know if I was successful or not. While I'm there, I can also pick up a couple of bottles of Hakatsuru junmai ginjo. That should tide me over until I find the other.

So until I find it, and until my next post, kampai, and good health.



6 comments:

G said...

You're getting your first real winter in Ottawa? It's too bad you moved out before this year's winter...the weather here has been nuts. This is as real as any winter gets! The average winchill has been around -15 to -20C. We have consistently had a good covering of snow, too! I have heard from many people that this is bizarre for Windsor...

Good luck on your sake quest! Maybe you just need to make a road trip to Quebec and stock up...or can't you just order it from somewhere else and have it shipped to you?

Shannon said...

I can have it shipped -- if the LCBO can find it, of course.

Now...since your account is so barren and it's not clear to me who this is, I'm gonna guess "Greg"?

G said...

Nope, not Greg...but close!

Shannon said...

...Grasshopper? Graham? Shouldn't be grasshopper - been the long enough to know Windsor winters...so Graham?

G said...

Aha...now you're talking!

G said...

Hmmm...methinks this entry has been the 'last entry posted' for quite some time now!

(by the way, I absolutely can't talk!)