Autumn was particularly rich in events and shows so it was difficult for me to feed my blog as I should have. It was difficult to miss the very rare matcha made from the Hôshun and Kyôken-283 cultivar, but there were, however, two Sashima sencha (not to mention the incredible Izumi black teas) or Sayama Fukumidori, etc. who would have deserved an article, but go ahead to evoke today a name that is not unknown: the Kondô-wase cultivar sencha from Mariko in Shizuoka.
Kondô-wase is an unregistered varietal, very rare (only two growers use it), of the “inzatsu” type. It is, like Sôfû, a cross between Yabukita and Inzatsu 131 (itself a cross between a Japanese tea tree, and an Indian variety, Manipuli 15).
It is also a very early cultivar, which for some years is the very first sencha of the year in Shizuoka. Thus, it takes place in April in my selection. However, this one, although coming from the same producer, same plantation, does not come however from the same batch. It is a harvest taking place the following days (whereas in spring, the one that I propose comes only from the first day of harvest).
With this exceptionally hasty character, it will be a shame not to offer this Kondô-wase Sencha as a shincha, however, as an “inzatsu” varietal, so particular on the olfactory plane, it is obvious that a few months of maturation will bring much richer aromas.
That’s how I come this year with this more mature Kondô-wase.
I must say that this tea did not betray my expectations.
First, it is a tea to prepare hot, at least 80 ° C for the first infusion.
If on the nose the sweet aromas of varietal type “inzatsu” already appear, on the palate and in retro-olfaction it is a deluge of typical and so unique aromas.
These sweet aromas are rich and complex, but white grapes dominate.
In the background there is a vegetable note, rather cooked vegetable than fresh grass, where I would see an impression of green pea.
The white grape aspect weakens a little on further infusions (we will make four, all really full and delicious) to gain in floral aroma, evoking a little jasmine. There are also discreet notes of vanilla.
Unlike an Inzatsu 131, here nothing spicy, we are always in the sweetness.
What is noticeable, surprising even, is the relative strength of the umami, and while we often consider the “inzatsu” type cultivars as rather astringent, not only the umami remains present on successive infusions even very hot, and we almost do not perceive any astringency.
This sencha is clearly the highlight of my novelties in November. It is a very great tea, very deep, sweet and pure, powerful, with a well-marked and recognizable character.