‘Supermuscatel’ 2nd Flush Darjeeling 2022
Gopaldhara is one of the highest gardens in Darjeeling, sitting at 3,500 to 6,000ft in the Himalayan foothills. This exceptional producer is one of the few Darjeeling gardens to remain independent and family run, owned by Rishi Saria and his family. Lalani & Co have been working with Rishi and his team for about 12 harvests.
The 2nd flush season in Darjeeling is roughly May and June. Teas from this season are characterised by a darker, richer, stronger profile compared to 1st flush teas. The particular flavour profile we’re looking for from a 2nd flush Darjeeling is called ‘muscatel’. Many tea professionals will argue about what ‘muscatel’ actually means. I’ve had different answers from different garden owners. The explanation I’ll give you comes from the root of the name, which is the muscat grape. Darjeeling 2nd flush teas should have a grape-like character. Imagine eating a grape. The flavour starts off floral and sweet. As you drink more, the tannins begin to emerge and build on the palate, just as if you’re chewing the grape skin and seeds. Eventually you have a beautiful, well-structured, grape skin dryness on the palate. Fine examples of this muscatel profile are becoming harder and harder to find, such that some years we’ve had an absence of 2nd flush Darjeeling in our library.
Section 5A of Gopaldhara was recently planted with Yabukita and Fujimidori tea plants, imported from Japan. This was a huge surprise, given how well these leaves have captured the muscatel character of a fine 2nd flush Darjeeling.
Batch Ex21 2022
This batch comes from section 5A of Gopaldhara garden, which was recently planted with Yabukita and Fujimidori tea plants, imported from Japan. This was a huge surprise, given how well these leaves have captured the muscatel character of a fine 2nd flush Darjeeling. In 2021 we brought you the first 21kg picking from section 5A. In 2022 the same plants have matured and produced 51kg. When the tea is poured, straight away the air fills with grape and vine aromas. The tea begins with a red grape character, leading to hints of lychee, then a grape skin dryness that builds on the palate with each sip. The tannins are beautifully structured and the finish is long. Having tasted two sister batches, I can share with you that the Yabukita varietal adds a touch of sharpness which enhances the muscatel character. This tea is on top form now and is highly recommended.
I recommend 3g:150ml at 90°C for 3 minutes; although feel free to infuse it longer or shorter if you want more or less strength.