2017 shincha : Sôfû cultivar sencha from Nihon-daira

After Kondô-wase cultivar sencha from Mariko (Shizuoka), which is already sold out, here is the second early shincha hasty on Thés du Japon.
With the cultivar Sôfû, it is still a variety of “inzatsu” type. It is also a cross of Yabukita (♀) and Inzatsu 131 (♂).
This one comes from Nihon-daira, from the plantations of Mr. Urushibata. It is a manual harvest, a production of barely 10 kilos, of which I have only one part. Quantities very limited therefore.
Nihon-daira is on the city of Shizuoka, in the district of Suruga. It is a plateau overlooking the bay of Suruga. It is therefore a very temperate zone, which is therefore well suited to an early cultivar sensitive to the cold such as Sôfû.
It has only been a few years since this producer made this Sôfû, and if it had not convinced me last year, I must say that this year, I found it particularly attractive.
The tea soup gives a delicate sweet fragrance, predominantly floral but a little fruity and slightly green.
This aromatic profil arrives in the mouth from the first attack in an intense way. This sweet floral aromas get perfectly married with an umami present but very thin. This sencha has a silky sensation. Without any aggressiveness, the tea flows very fluidly in the throat, and despite the richness of the aromas, it remains very airy. Delicacy and elegance seem to be the key words. However, the character of the teas of type inzatsu is here perfectly recognizable, in the aftertaste in particular.
The after-taste is light, rather diffuse, but it helps to give this sencha a very refreshing character.

Starting from the first infusion with water at 80-85 ° C, one can perform 4 infusions without any trace of astringency.
If one feels that these aromas are still little asserted, it is also a characteristic of the shincha, but on the other hand it is a sencha that seems to me to possess a beautiful balance and a great elegance, qualities that are not always put together with these new teas justly.
My first impression on this season 2017 is that it seems to me that one can hope for more perfumes on these inzatsu type cultivars than last year when many were disappointing. I’m looking forward to see the Sôfû from Tamakawa!

By the way, the Shincha Kondô-wase cultivar from Osaka 小坂 (not Ôsaka 大阪 !!) in the Suruga ward of Shizuoka, is now available.

Categories: Reviews

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2 replies

  1. It’s hard not to notice that this year’s shincha is coming in a little later compared to last year. This seems to be true for pretty much all places I look (Uji tea, Shizuoka, etc). From what I remember, last year you had the konda wase from Mariko in maybe late March or early April at the latest. And though I can’t recall if you mentioned anything last year about the perfumes of that particular tea, I know it was something you said was lacking from a few other teas (and maybe not just of the inzatsu type either).

    I definitely thought the same when I tried them, and it wasn’t just the aroma: I thought a lot of teas were better in 2015 then in the 2016 version (but that was a case by case basis, and not something I’d say was true overall).

    Does this have something to do with when the teas are harvested? In other words, is the date when the tea was picked a good indicator of the coming year’s quality, or does that have very little effect on it?

  2. Yes, in all Japan, 2017 harvest is 7-10 days late comparatively to 2016. It is due to a long “winter”. But there were no frost problem (risk still exist until the first week of May) this year. Without a doubt, 2017 will at least be better than 2016, but 2016 was a pretty bad year. It was strange because in 2016 there were no major damage on plantation, but there were no winter, and then big rain just before harvest. So we could think the bushes couldn’t “hibernate” well. Also, too much rain tends to make light tasted tea.
    The simply date of harvest couldn’t be a criteria to judge if the tea will be good or not.
    Regarding, the Kondô-wase from Mariko, last year, it was blended to Ôiwase (I needed it quickly for an event), so its aromas were obviously lighter, but this year it was 100% Kondô-wase (then much expensive, and very few quantities).

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