It’s surprising how our palettes transform over the years to appreciate the intricacies of wine and tea. One day you’re sipping a pinot noir and suddenly aware that it has just the right fruity undertones to pair well with a seared salmon entree or a tannic taste that compliments a dark and savoury duck dish. A glass of wine suddenly opens the door to a realm of exciting culinary possibilities and you find yourself swishing around a sip of earthy merlot or giddy over the refreshing sweetness of dessert wine. Becoming a Tea Master offers quite a similar excitement. You’ll never be the same after you discover the first flush of Darjeeling, the champagne of teas, or concoct your first matcha latte successfully. If you’re a wine lover seeking a new avocation, here are 6 super fancy teas to tie you over until your next tasting.
1. If you like Riesling, try Fujieda Sencha
Riesling is made from a white grape and has a flowery aroma with high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet or sweet sparkling white wines and found its origins in Rhine and Germany. It’s fresh, it’s bright and it’s sharp enough to catch your attention with that first sip. If you’re a loyal riesling lover, you must try the Fujieda Sencha. This Sencha is a premium Japanese loose leaf tea from the Shizuoka prefecture in Japan. The tea is bright yellowy-green with a sweet taste. This tea does not exhibit bitterness but is rather refreshing and aromatic just like the comparative riesling cousin. This lively green tea is a lovely treat anytime, but especially on those sticky hot summer days when you’re parched for a pick-me-up.
2. If you like Syrah (Shiraz) try Lapsang Souchong
One of the broodiest wines out there is the dark and often oaky Syrah (also known as a Shiraz). Born in the Côtes du Rhône region of France, Syrah is known to serve a punch of flavour tapering off into a peppery aftertaste. Syrah is rich with antioxidants and rewards its drinker with the taste of blackberry and blueberry and the velvety deep colour of plums. Depending on the Syrah, you may be met with notes of olive, pepper, vanilla, licorice, chocolate, or even smoke. If you’re looking for an equally moody tea, your best option is the Lapsang Souchong. These premium tea leaves are smoked on fine pinewood giving them a distinct bouquet. Imagine this tea personified as an outdoorist in a hand-built cabin putting a fresh log on a fire burning bright in the evening in the midst of a sharp Canadian winter. This tea is often used in recipes for barbeque sauces, salmon, soups and other savoury dishes.
3. If you like Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay try Iron Goddess Oolong
Ah, Chenin Blanc (please picture us pronouncing this in our best French accent with a crystal glass hanging between our fingers somewhere sunny). Chenin Blanc or chardonnay offers its drinkers a sweet array of flavours, classically containing quince, yellow apple, plum, ginger and floral notes. Its white grape is found in the Loire Valley of France and used in a spectrum of wines that range from dry to sparkling, and even dessert variations. No matter how sweet, don’t be surprised if this wine is equally assertive in nature. Its perfect tea counterpart is the Iron Goddess Oolong, a premium blend from the Fujian province of China, this pale yellow-green cup of tea is infused to give it a light floral sweetness that is playful and full, like an aromatic breeze through an orchard in the summertime. Treat yourself to this premium cup of tea, you deserve it.
4. If you like Champagne try Gopaldhara First Flush Darjeeling
If you’re a true devotee to authentic champagne shipped from the Champagne wine region in the northeast of France, we know you enjoy the finer things and life and appreciate how geography produces unique flavour profiles worth every penny. Champagne is a sparkling wine produced under specific fermentation vineyard practices and stringent pressing regimes that result in an exceptional finished product. Champagne wine is the epitome of nobility and prestige as far as wine goes. If you’re interested in emulating the admirable qualities of champagne in a tea, you must try Gopaldhara First Flush Darjeeling. Gopaldhara is an esteemed tea garden in Darjeeling, India. The First Flush is the very first plucking of a tea plant’s harvest season. The new growth leaves plucked during First Flush are the youngest and most tender part of the tea plant and are said to yield the purest and freshest cup of tea. This Darjeeling is sweetly aromatic and shouldn’t be missed.
5. If you love Sangria try Sangria White Tea
You’re sitting on a patio sharing a California Cobb salad and juicy burgers with friends looking for a sweet, refreshing pitcher of sangria to pass around the table. Sangria is that light-hearted, bubbly and optimistic friend who is always the life of the summer party. With freshly chopped fruit and a generous helping of ice, this favourite rarely disappoints. If you’re seeking a non-alcoholic alternative that will have you hydrated instead of hungover, try the Sangria White Tea. The Sangria White Tea is made from a selection of the finest Chinese white teas, blended with flower petals, dried orange fruit, dried cherry pieces, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and natural fruit flavour. This tea can be enjoyed hot, but we suggest serving it as a pitcher of iced tea to give guests that sangria experience (sans-sangria).
6. If you like Ice Wine try White Ginger Peach
Ice wine, people love it or hate it. Ice wine gives you that wince-inducing sweetness that you often experience while taking a bite of a decadent dessert. Ice wine is so sweet it can take anywhere from 3-6 months to make. It’s a long, slow, and finicky fermentation that results in the sweetness of around 160-220 k/L of residual sugar. 220 k/L is two times the sweetness of Coke! We may not be able to emulate this taste in a sugar-free tea but you can start by trying the White Ginger Peach tea. This premium white tea is skillfully blended with natural peach and ginger flavours and the subtle taste of lemon that makes for an excellent thirst quencher. Turn this steeped cup into an iced tea and impress guests with their new favourite daytime treat. If you’re really trying to satisfy that sweet tooth, add sugar, honey, simple syrup, or coconut sugar.
Wine Folly (2017). Ice Wine, You’re So Fine (A Detailed Guide).
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