The SHIELD series uses local, heirloom rice strains from the Shonai Area of Yamagata Prefecture. Kameno-o (often referred to as the “phantom sake rice” due to its illusive & exciting nature) was discovered in 1893 in Shonai by a local farmer and is the focus of this delicious sake.
Tatenokawa SHIELD Kameno-o exudes ‘rustic elegance’. Aromas are fruity and well-integrated with a focus on ripe melon, grape, peach, apple, streamed rice, young banana with some biscuity depth. It is crisp, elegant, silky & well-structured with tasty umami, medium-bodied and a satisfying finish.
Chilling this sake right down doesn’t give it the best light (although it is still delicious) as its allure is the perfect balance between composed umami and fruitiness, by chilling it too much you mute that. We recommend a temperature of around 10-15 deg C which really allows the fruity notes to shine and the umami to play an active & supportive role.
Tatenokawa SHIELD Kameno-o is a real food sake, the integral umami does wonders to help this and we found it was great with a wide varieties of foods but we particularly recommend grilled vegetables, seafood (mussels was great), creamy or salty cheeses, pickles, salted fish, hams/charcuterie, and corn.
Some Info on the ‘phantom sake rice’ Kameno-o
Picture the year 1893, industrious rice farmer, Kameji Abe, stumbled upon three rice ears which had miraculously ripened during the harsh cold — a result of natural mutation from their mother, indeginous variety Soube Wase. Fast forward to 1896 and, after two years of hard work by Abe, Kameno-o finally emerged as a viable crop. By 1925 approximately 190,000 hectares were sown in and around the north of Japan with Kameno-o becoming the representative variety for the Tohoku region.
Although being resistant to cold it was susceptible to vermin, and chemical fertilisers encouraged brittleness; thus, its glory dimmed making room for descendants like Sasanishiki and Koshihikari, which were more suited to modern agricultural methods.
The original Kameno-o took a bow in 1970, only to rise from the ashes in 1983. Enter Norimichi Kusumi of Kusumi Shuzo, and Kazuyoshi Sato of Koikawa Shuzo, both on independent quests to resurrect Kameno-o. The initial brews were wild and flat, but the master brewers refined their craft, yielding high-quality sake that rivalled those of the revered Yamada Nishiki rice. Today, Kameno-o is used by various brands, weaving a unique flavor tapestry that continues to captivate enthusiasts.
More detail can be found here.
Ingredients: rice, water, yeast, koji