Wednesday, February 19, 2014
1979 Dong Ding Oolong
Origin: Dong Ding area
Harvested in 1979!
Process: Strongly roasted Oolong leaves when the tea was young. Not roasted recently.
Aging: by the tea farmer who had forgotten about this tea.
1. Dry leaves
Usually, Dong Ding Oolong leaves are tightly rolled. However, over the course of 35 years, the leaves will unfurl little by little. They feel very light.
These leaves are a little bit like the 20 years older version of my 1999 Nantou high roasted Oolong. The color isn't as dark anymore. The scents are also less powerful, more refined. Dark dry wood, Chinese medicinal herbs... And there are still some roasted scents similar to my high roasted Anxi Tie Guan Yin. Overall, these fragrances are dark, sweet, warm and soft.
Very good transparency (lack of turbidity) and shine. The color is rather brown and will turn lighter as the brews progress.
When tasted in competition mode (3 grams for 6 minutes in a white porcelain set), the major defect that appeared is a 'Wuyi sour' note. It is typical for aged roasted Oolongs, and this expression was first coined in Wuyi (Fujian) about Yancha. This sour note will disappear after a while and be absorbed by the overall sweet notes of this tea. The aftertaste is long and mild. It leads to a comfortable warm feeling in belly.
When brewed with skill in a gaiwan or in my duanni teapot, the harmony of the taste improves, sometimes dramatically. The sour and mellow notes mix and melt on the tongue.
(劉松年, ca.1155-1224) on my Chaxi. This picture is the summer painting that is part of his Landscapes of four Seasons. This scenery is so warm, that the man finds refuge in the shade of trees near his house. He faces a lake and we can see mountains both in the foreground on the left and in the background on the right. These three layers are a classic Shan Shui composition.
The man, in his white dress, looks so small and insignificant in this vast nature... But he finds beauty and energy from the presence of both the tall mountains and the water.
The cup on the copper chatuo almost looks like a boat floating on this peaceful lake.
What's special about such old Oolong is how warm and relaxed it makes you feel. I had one of my best naps just after tasting this tea!
As tea ages for such a long time, it's a normal part of the process that it should loose some of its original strength and substance. That's why it's important to select a great, powerful tea to age.
That's the inspiration for this Chaxi: old accessories like my Yixing duanni, my plates, the Anping jar transform the tasting of this 1979 Dong Ding in an experience of timeless elegance and pleasure.