Monday, November 25, 2019

04 DeHong Wild Tree Purple Turning a Corner, Finally

In 2012,  I had been exceedingly disappointed that one of my early favorites the 2004 Dehong Wild Tree Bricks had become a ghost of their former selves.  But this morning I have a small glimmer of hope that something more is afoot as the brew gave my jaws an unexpected pull and a squeeze. The tea has a staying power in the upper palate that is not entirely unwelcome but not praiseworthy yet either.  The actual brick is still tight as ever, still don't want to give it up. It's all deliberately chopped up leaves that you often see in XiaGuan pressings and it is pressed tighter than an XG if you can believe that. The ultra tight iron compression has made it age glacially in comparison with my other stone pressed beengs so it may be too early to tell yet.

Mangled brick
The brew has a heaviness of sugarcane that is also paradoxically and simultaneously too light in the way some budget Yiwus are. I realize there are no longer "real" budget Yiwus out there and the budget Yiwus of my youth are probably undeserved overpriced triple digit cakes now. High end Yiwus I've had the pleasure of enjoying have a beautiful effervescent lightness yet surprising strength - like elven swords. (If you are wondering,  I tend to favor the heavier dragon bone weapons but only because I've got a glut of dragon carcass materials cluttering up my smithy.)  But such Yiwu endurance of huigan can be epic sometimes lasting across meals stimulating long dormant tastebuds in long lost corners of the mouth. Budget versions are a bit more heavy handed initially on the tongue yet leave a "lighter" imprint on the jaws. Not exactly the lightness of titanium vs lightness of plastic metaphor but I'll leave it here.

The De Hong is definitely not the young savory yet mouthwateringly juicy sweet brick I fell in love with and the anthocyanin flavors have long departed.  However the lightly lingering huigan growing more prominent on the teeth makes me more than a wee hopeful.   This transition is definitely is a huge improvement from the muted yet bitter brew from 6 years ago.  Perhaps they were stuck in the 8 year awkward phase, neither young nor old.  And as evidence that it's becoming something more interesting to me, even though the sheng tea broth was immediately bothersome to my belly, the brew was compelling enough that I've been drinking constantly for the last few hours.  So I will gladly retaste it in another few years.

This isn't to say I feel warm and fuzzy about cold dry home storage I've got going on in Berkeley.  Don't get excited Cwyn!  But I'm nodding my head that it isn't as bad as I feared- that my sheng are not mere desiccated mummies worthy of scorn.  Incidentally in the last few years my usually dry home had suffered mold issues. It turned out the ancient plumbing beneath our house burst and our dishwasher and bathroom sink were draining straight into the crawlspace creating a moist environment for worms and mold for a few years. I wonder now if this actually gave my sheng a boost.

1 comment:

  1. Tasted the overnight brew and rebrewed yesterday's leaves this morning. Pleasantly refreshing like a young autumn yiwu. Obviously this is not what one hopes for when aging purple wild tree...