Leaf Type: Black
Where To Buy: Vintage TeaWorks
Inspired by Merlot, we blended natural ingredients to create a black tea blend that is velvety and robust. The hints of black currant, plums, licorice and violets make drinking this tea quite a sensual experience.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I first pried open the lid on this canister, I was amazed at how good it smells. It has a distinct wine-like aroma to it. I’m certainly not able to discern that it smells like “Merlot” … or any other specific type of wine, but it does have that certain fermented dark-colored grape scent to it. It smells sweet, fruity, and has some floral tones as well as earthiness to the fragrance as well.
Once brewed, the tea maintains much of that fermented-grape/wine-like scent, with notes of flower seeming to dance across the surface of the tea – not staying around for long, but there is just enough flower there to entice the olfactory nerves.
The flavor is really delightful. Vintage TeaWorks touts this as their “velvety and robust” tea, and it certainly is that. It has a very velvety smooth character, strong with a definite boldness to it. I imagine that this would be the ideal way to start the day for the wine enthusiast.
But then, I’m no wine enthusiast, but I am still really enjoying this tea. It has a very pleasant refinement to it, it is strong and delicious. No signs of bitterness, and only a touch of tangy astringency toward the tail, finishing sweet. It reminds me of the finish of a glass of red wine: sweet (but not too sweet) and smooth.
The flavor is not so much like “grape” as it is very fruit-like. Like a medley of dark fruit: black (or red) grapes and currants. That doesn’t really surprise me much, as I have often noticed a currant-like taste in red wine. I even taste a hint of plum here, more like the sweetness of plum, not so much the tartness of the fruit.
Then, I noticed another taste in the background, one that I don’t normally associate with wine: Licorice. I kept tasting it to determine if that was what I was really tasting, and then I happened to glance over the ingredients and noticed that licorice is one of the ingredients (as well as currants!) Now, I suppose that there are wine connoisseurs would say that there is indeed licorice-y notes in wine, and I’m not one to debate with them because I know next to nothing about wine. I just know that I am tasting it here, and while this doesn’t taste strongly of licorice, it has a distant yet distinct background note of licorice that really harmonizes with the overall cup, and seems to enhance the wine flavors of the blend.
Overall, I find this to be a very fascinating tea blend, one of the nicest representations of wine flavors in a tea that I’ve yet to taste. This company – Vintage TeaWorks – has really impressed me!