Friday, May 21, 2010

Spring 2010 Shan Lin Shi High Mountain Oolong

(2009 fut en français et très proche).

The mountains of Shan Lin Shi have wonderful landscapes with waterfalls, bamboo and pine trees. This combination is what makes Shan Lin Shi so particular in Taiwan.

The high altitude brings a comfortable freshness even in late spring, when the spring leaves are harvested. This ensures that the leaves keep their fresh fragrances. The high elevation means that the leaves grow slower, but bigger. They take their time to absorb all the strength from their soil and surroundings. These are the main two reasons why High Mountain Oolong taste so good.

Still, the quality can still vary greatly from batch to batch and from one season to another. (See last year's post). This year was not different, but I am glad to report that this spring's Shan Lin Shi Oolong is close in taste to last year's (and even better!)

Cultivar: Luanze Oolong
Origin: Shan Lin Shi
Elevation: 1500-1600 meters
Hand harvested on April 26, 2010

The dry leaves smell fresh with light flower, vegetable and vetiver fragrances. The dark green color shows how concentrated these leaves are.

Don't they look like fragments of jade!

The oxidation is lighter than for this year's Ali Shan Oolong. The fragrances are lighter, more flowery and a little senchaesque. The papaya fragrance I felt last year is 'greener'. What doesn't change is the the purity and sweetness of the taste. Incredible. This tea amazes me. And it has such a 'finesse'. It seems so light, but so fresh and rich in chaqi and aftertaste at the same time. A sweetness in my throat lingers softly. Hummm.

Below, the open leaves show that they have been bitten by tea jassids! These insects know what's good! You can also see how perfectly clear and transparent the brew is.
First, I had planned to use this fabric for a tea from Zhu Shan (Bamboo Mountain). But I find it's also a good fit for Shan Lin Shi. It has freshness and power. The water fills David Louveau's woodfired bowl and the tea reminds me of the waterfalls. With this Cha Xi, I'm again hiking in Shan Lin Shi.
And my delicate orchids are getting ready to open up more buds... It's a wonderful life!


Karen said...

Beautiful, Stéphane! Do you prefer one year over another?

TeaMasters said...

Thanks, Karen.

I had the opportunity to let Kim (the honeymooner) taste both blind. I opened vacuum sealed bags of both teas. He couldn't tell that they were from a different year. His palate is very sensitive, though. He could taste that they were close and came from the same mountain.

It's only after I told him that they were one year apart that he felt that last year's is rounder and riper.

As for me, I think this year has more finesse and fresh energy. I'd say it has more potential, but the 2009 is now at its peak as is very well balanced.

Ben said...

I have tried your 2009 green Shan Lin Shi and now also your 2010. Both vintages are, I think, excellent examples of green gao shan. There is just enough oxidation to smooth out the tea's flavor, but it is still definitely on the lighter and more green side of things. With both the 2009 and 2010, my first infusion has a thick mouth feel, and subsequent infusions build up flavor while maintaining the signature thickness and mouth feel of a quality gao shan. Even with long infusions, I could barely detect any bitterness. This is much better than a lot of Da Yu ling I've tried over the past few years.I think I might prefer the 2010 vintage, but both vintages are really so close. This is an excellent example of Taiwanese high mountain tea, and I think that it is being sold for one heck of a good price-- which is why I'm going to buy a few hundred more grams to store away for later.


Philippe de Bordeaux filipek said...

Un délice de finesse que je déguste en ce jour;de fraîcheur verte Vétiver.
Fin,pur,vif revigorant : les feuilles sèches sont criblées au Top un parfum profond qui se confirme en tasse et en bouche.Belle longueur en bouche after taste frais vert et des parfums de fleurs et une onctuosité beurrée...
MERCI pour ta sélection de ces Gao Shan de rêve!