Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter 2013 Shan Lin Shi 'Sparkling' Oolong

Cultivar: Luanze (qingxin) Oolong
Origin: Shan Lin Shi, Long Feng Xia, Central Taiwan
New plantation. First harvest.
Elevation: 2000 meters
Harvest: November 26, 2013.
Process: rolled, lightly Oxidized Oolong. No roasting.

The dry leaves are very big. The fragrances are light and flowery with some sweet notes.
 The first brew has a very light and clear yellow color. (Later brews will have more saturated colors.)

The taste is very clean, sweet and energetic. There's almost a sparkling feeling to this tea! Here, the term 'Champagne tea' would be very fitting. The tea gives a sensation of freshness and lightness, even though the mature Oolong leaves also have a very structured, deep body on the palate. The aftertaste is long and refined. All over my mouth, I feel a light sparking sensation, like very small Champagne bubbles. And like for a great sparkling white wine, the acidity is well balanced with the sweetness and prolongs into a very pure floral aftertaste.
 The bright effervescence and the rich texture of this very clean high mountain Oolong are what defines the first harvest of a new plantation. The leaves contain the natural nutrients of a soil that has never been farmed before. This explains why the leaves are so thick. I barely covered the bottom with my dry leaves, but they open up so large that they fill the whole gaiwan!
These very concentrated, top quality Oolong leaves are so full of energy that you don't need too many of them. Best is to brew them with long brewing times. That's a smart and cost effective way to enjoy some of Taiwan's best High Mountain Oolongs! (Teadb started a similar discussion when brewing my spring 2013 Shan Lin Shi Luanze Oolong.).

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