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Tasting report: Rou Gui Da Wang

16 May 2017

IMG_2334

Gaiwan infusion – 5 grams of leaves – 95°C water

Laurence Lambin-Gagnon,  of the Quebec chapter of Camellia Sinensis presents us his notes on his Rou Gui Da Wang (Chinese wulong) tasting.

“It may seem peculiar to opt for the tasting of an older Chinese Wulong among the fresh new arrivals of the Spring harvest. But the Rou Gui Da Wang is also at its best time of year. In fact, teas from the region of the Wuyi mountains are harvested in Spring, roasted in summer and sold in fall. These are the legendary “rock teas”, some of the World’s most renowned grand crus that are often sold at a hefty price. Their trademark long twisted leaves are easy to spot and stem from their difficult terroir. Roasted with a wood based, tradition and yielding infusions of unique, deep, mineral balance. For many, this balance really falls into place in the Spring following the harvest, nearly a year after original production.

Tasting notes:
First infusion offers a mesmerizing bouquet: coal, caramelized sugar and incense. Mouthfeel is all wood and spices. The texture is oily with a rich essence such as olive-tree wood or ebony. The liquor is thick and suave, sweetened by its infusion. The finish is chocolaty, reminiscent of grilled cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The Rou Gui Da Wang (literally Grand King of the Rou Gui) starts high.

The second and third infusions reveal a fresher, softer side to the tea. After a year of rest, the freshly infused leaves express the vegetal power of the terroir. As its liquor thickens and loses acidity it  reveals a smoothness, similar to hazelnut butter. This harvest is an exclusive issue from an experienced tea maker, almost 80 years old. This season M. Liu, has produced only 50KG of this tea and we are lucky to have been offered it.

For me the best part in tasting Wuyi teas comes at the end of the tasting. As the aromas begin to fade away and the unique trademark of that terroir is revealed: a dense mineral liquor that remains calm, still and persistent.”

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