June Wine: Momokawa Pearl Sake

Sake's versatility makes it great for pairing with a multitude of meals.

Credit: Adam Blasberg

Oru at the Vancouver Fairmont Pacific Rim

The sommelier at Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Oru pairs
sake with sablefish.

Sake shows off its simple versatility when paired with sablefish.

Ask an Oenophile

The Expert: Jacob Luksic, assistant restaurant manager and sommelier, Oru at Fairmont Pacific Rim
The Dish: Sake kasu sablefish with gingered tomatoes and sweet miso sauce, $12

The Pairing: SakéOne, Momokawa Pearl, Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu, $39 

SakéOne, Momokawa Pearl, Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu

There’s a stigma with sake that it doesn’t pair well with food, but it’s actually quite versatile. Just like a wine, it’s made in different styles and variations. It does open up, it does change and, with a bit of aeration, it gets more depth and more flavour, therefore pairing well with a variety of foods. 

The Momokawa Pearl is often served with chocolate and fruit, but it can work with chicken or beef as well. Here, I’ve chosen to pair it with our sake kasu sablefish. We marinate the sablefish in a combination of sweet miso and sake kasu (the lees of the sake), slow cook it and torch it with a blowtorch to caramelize the outside, then serve it with ginger marinated tomatoes. 

What I love about this dish is its simplicity. It has a touch of bitterness from the sake kasu, the sweetness from the miso and the acidity and savoury quality from the ginger tomato. And you get that in the sake too; it’s really creamy and it’s got that sweetness, but you still get a bit of heat from it because you have that higher alcohol content – it’s 18 per cent. 

When you add warmth to sake, it starts to cover up the true flavours of what’s being produced, so you’ll want to serve this chilled.