09 May, 2007

2004 CNNP Yiwu Zhengshan

This sample comes courtesy of VL. It's a review from the archives, because I'm just about to finish this journal (number 24, interestingly enough), and this is one of the few unpublished reviews from it. So, then, is it really Zhengshan [proper mountain]?

~15cl of Caledonian Springs @ 100C in 20cl shengpu pot; "normal" amount (~5g); single rinse

Dry leaf:
Directing your eye to the top photograph for a moment, behold what looks to be a rather pleasant pile of leaves. It's a little "modern Darjeeling", in that there is a fair mixture of dark and green - not a lot of consistency in the oxidation. Almost no compression whatsoever, which is absolutely fine by me. Mushroom aroma - rather decent, in fact, by nose.

10s, 15s, 20s, 30s:
Not a lot of infusions, as you can tell, perhaps indicative of my lack of long-term interest in this tea.

It's a thick yellow, very viscous indeed, with good clarity - a few hairs from the tips may be seen in the soup, for good measure. A long, strong aroma of sticky wood - the freshness of the leaves is apparent in this tea's presence in the wenxiangbei.

It exhibits a curious set of flavours: low and broad, and quite smooth. Not overly interesting, but smooth. There is a decent tang in the finish, with a long-lasting sweetness. Xiaomao detects some smoke, but I cannot.

It's a quiet, non-committal tea, just showing signs of being well-integrated in what it does, without trying too hard.

Used leaf:
1-2cm segments, hand-picked. Why chop them? An aging accelerant? I'd rather they were untampered. Consistent with 2-3 years of oxidation.

Smooth, gentle - a fair enough tea for a warm afternoon with a book. It doesn't grab the attention, but putters along aimlessly by my side. Grain, sweetness, gentle straw, and that welcome tang to finish. Friendly, but not inspiring.

It seems that I wrote a haiku while tasting this one the first time around:
my gaze
caught in the gongdaobei -
swirls of steam
I recall that this refers to the currents of evaporating vapour that were as trapped in the gongdaobei as was my rapt attention on following their slow revolutions.

Addendum: after transcribing my notes, I found notes on this tea at the ever-excellent TeaLogic. It seems that we're of a like mind: "it's not right, but it's OK".


vl. said...

A simple tea indeed.

I can't remember why I rated it 4/5 on their website after drinking the sample; probably because compared to some other tea they sell this was, at least, drinkable. Sigh... mistakes...

This reminds me about those young sheng samples you sent me a few months ago, I'll dig them out... they're hanging around somewhere in my box of samples.


Hobbes said...

Mm, very much so. I forgot to ask where this one came from - your mention of "4 out of 5" makes me think of Jing... but after checking, it's doesn't seem to be them.

Speaking of those shengpu samples, I need to revisit them - the bings have been sitting in the cupboard untried except for the initial tasting. This evening, we retried the "Jingmai Ruyi" - which I prefer to think of as "hongcha in a bing". :)

I am so nearly, so nearly!, on top of my sample box. Just four shengpu from your good self, and a few RTG dancong from CB, remain untried. Trying to reach the end of one's samples is like the trial of Sisyphus - but an immensely pleasurable version, I should add, and one of which we never tire!

Here's hoping that we never quite reach the end, as it means we've never run out of new teas...



Hobbes said...

Ah! RoyalPuer.com. It's their only CNNP bing. The photograph makes it look most appetising, it must be said.

I must confess to rather enjoying the new animated logo at Jing...



MarshalN said...

Well, my samples are coming your way, so at least you'll get two more very soon.

Sounds like a terrible tea all around. I think the differences in colour for the dry leaves is actually because a lot of "yellow leaves" are mixed in the cake.

vl. said...

Yeah, RoyalPuer, it was worth the sample - most of the stuff they have isn't very good and way overpriced; this is no exception I think. That said, this is perhaps the only one that isn't openly offensive...

I can't remember there being much yellowed leaf though...


Hobbes said...

LZ, great stuff - the psotman is on standby. ;)

Vlad, I just noticed that RoyalPuer do samples of literally everything they sell - I approve of that, at least. A good way to do business - by the time I've had a sample, and enjoyed it, I'll oftentimes have formed enough of an emotional bond to justify buying a bing. Without that sample... much harder.

Toodlepip both,