Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn Las Vegas - 2017 - Issue 3 - Winter

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

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Page 38 of 99

37 "In ancient times, travel and trade was a long process and the quality of the tea could be easily damaged during the process, so enjoying the 30-year Pu'er wasn't easy," says Zhao. "It is said that Pu'er tea should be fermented by wrapping the tea leaves in a piece of paper and storing it in a ventilated space. But this traditional storage method is not practical outside of the Yunnan province." Today, there are modern ways to store teas in meticulously regulated envi- ronments, as well as speed up the fermentation process. Factories in the 1970s invented a new way to artificially ferment Pu'er tea so it's drinkable within five years. This "ripe" Pu'er—called green or shou tea—is considered lower quality. "It's very hard to tell the quality simply by looking at the tea leaves, but you can tell from the aroma and the color," says Zhao. "When brewed correctly, the Pu'er should be a little bit transparent—a bright, luminous color that's very attractive. If the tea looks very dense and dark, then it's probably not very high quality." The best Pu'er, he says, comes from Yunnan province and has been carefully aged. Some of the rarest ripe Pu'er teas can fetch more than $151,694 per disc, such as the 100-year-old discs from Yunnan's Xiaguan brand. Likewise, Red Mark Pu'er from the 1950s attracts connoisseurs and collectors for its rarity and refined flavors. Just like wine, Pu'er teas develop full-bodied, layered flavors over time, such as plum and wood, fruit, earth, smoke, minerals, butter and flowers. "Nowadays in China, consumption of vintage tea becomes a symbol of social status. In addition, vintage tea is like vintage wine—it is really good," says Jules Liu, a tea expert and sociology professor at Hong Kong University. "Once you taste it, you will never forget it. The experience goes beyond description." "These teas are very special, because it's not only about the value of a drinkable tea, but also the value of history," he adds. "It is a symbol of social status. Like a painting by Van Gogh, you cannot use economic value to explain that, because its value lies in its symbolic capital." At Wing Lei Palace, Zhao leads diners through the tea options with ease and encyclopedic knowledge. Every day, his team collects fresh tea from the hotel's climate-controlled warehouse, stored in airtight containers for easy access. Depending on the guest, Zhao plucks from more than 50 types of teas—from Red Heart Iron Buddha oolong to Premium Da Hong Pao Wu Yi (a dark oolong), Biluochun green tea, floral teas, and White Peony tea—to complement Executive Chef Sammy Ho's hand-made dim sum and classic seafood dishes. But Zhao says the most versatile tea is mild, mellow Pu'er. Depending on the kind of dish, he will suggest a vintage based on acidity, tannins, complexity and woodiness. A younger Pu'er, which has a classic leafy aroma, might be more suitable for meat dishes, such as chef Ho's sautéed beef tenderloin with garlic and black pepper. Meanwhile, a 25-year Pu'er would balance the rich, fatty flavors of char siu (honey-barbecued pork). "The classic leafy tea has a unique woody and earthy aroma, and its texture and flavor becomes smoother with a touch of sweetness at the end. Aside from the smoothness and classic taste of the Pu'er tea, the catechin [a type of antioxidant] inside the tea also has a strong effect on the fatty and oily food, breaking down the fat of the dishes." And to go with a Cantonese dessert, such as a traditional mango pudding, Zhao returns to the 30-year Pu'er. "After aging for 30 years, the sweetness of Pu'er has reached a whole different level. Its smoothness and classic woody aroma is the best choice for dessert." Zhao not only considers what diners have ordered, but also their gen- eral health, since tea is thought to have restorative and healing properties. Pu'er, for instance, is usually associated with aiding digestion and promot- ing longevity. Indeed, it's packed with vitamins and antioxidants—from vitamins B and C to potassium, magnesium and zinc. The tannins in Pu'er also have an amazing ability to cleanse the palate, making it a perfect match for rich dishes and multicourse feasts. No matter what's on the menu, the elegance and sophistication of Pu'er tea brings people together—just like a great bottle of wine. 「在古代,運輸和貿易需要歷經漫長的過程,茶的質量在期間非常 容易受到影響,所以3 0年的普洱來之不易。」趙先生說:「據說製作普 洱是要將茶葉包裹在一張紙裡,儲藏在通風的空間進行發酵。 但這種 傳統的儲藏方式在雲南省以外很難做到。」 時至今日,已經有多種現代化的方式可以在精細調控的環境中儲 存茶葉,並加快發酵過程。1970年代的茶廠發明了一種新的人工發酵 普洱茶的方式,發酵5年就可以飲用。這種「熟」普洱也叫綠茶或熟茶, 通常認為質量稍差。 「只看茶葉很難分出質量高低,但可以從茶水的香味和顏色中辨 別。」趙先生說:「以正確方法沖泡的普洱,茶色應該是稍微透明,晶瑩 清澈的顏色非常好看。如果茶色看起來濃郁暗沉,茶葉的質量就可能 不是很高。」 趙先生說最好的普洱來自云南省,並且需要經過精心發酵製作。 有些極為罕有的熟普洱茶餅,比如雲南下關品牌的10 0年普洱,可以賣 出每餅超過151,69 4美元的天價。此外,195 0年代的普洱紅印茶餅也因 其稀有性和精緻的茶味吸引了大批鑑賞家和收藏家。就像葡萄酒一 樣,普洱茶也會隨著時間的推移產生濃郁厚重、層次豐富的味道,比如 梅子、木材,水果、泥土、煙熏、礦物質、牛油香和花香等等。 「如今在中國,購買、收藏陳年茶成為一種社會地位的象徵。而 且,陳年茶就像葡萄酒一樣,確實非常美妙。」香港大學茶葉專家及社 會學教授 Ju les L iu說:「一旦品嚐過,就永遠難以忘懷。那種美好的 體驗難以用言語描述。」 「這些茶如此特別,因為它的價值不僅僅是在於飲用,更在於它所 承載的歷史,」他補充說: 「它是社會地位的象徵。就像梵高的畫,你 不能用經濟價值來衡量,因為價值在於它所象徵的意義。」 在永利宮裡,趙先生以輕鬆的講解方式和淵博的知識來協助客人 挑選茶葉品種。每天,他的團隊從酒店的恆溫倉庫取出新鮮茶葉並儲 存在密封容器中,方便取用。根據客人的喜好,趙先生從紅心鐵觀音烏 龍茶、上等武夷大紅袍烏龍茶、碧螺春綠茶、花茶、白牡丹茶等等50多 個品種中,選取相應的茶葉來搭配手工點心和經典海鮮菜式。 但趙先生表示,最百搭的茗茶是味道柔和醇厚的普洱。對於不同 品種的菜式,他會根據茶味的酸度、單寧、層次和木質味道來推薦普洱 的年份。年份稍輕的普洱有經典的樹葉香氣,可能更適合肉類菜餚,比 如蒜香黑椒牛柳條。 而25年的普洱則可以與豐腴肥美的叉燒味道相互平衡。「這種經 典的茶葉裡有種獨特的木質和泥土香氣,入口回甘,令茶的口感和味道 都更柔和。除了普洱茶的柔和口感和經典香味,茶葉內的兒茶素(一種 天然抗氧化劑)還能有效分解脂肪,降低菜餚的油膩感。」 搭配粵式甜品的話,比如傳統芒果布丁,趙先生則推薦3 0年的普 洱。「發酵 3 0年後,普洱的甘甜風味達到了另一個層次。它的柔和口感 和經典木質香氣是搭配甜品的最佳選擇。」 據說茶具有恢復元氣和療愈身心的作用,因此趙先生不僅會考慮 如何用茶來搭配賓客點的菜餚,還會替賓客作以茶養生的考慮。例如 普洱據說有幫助消化和延年益壽的作用,而事實上,它確實含有豐富的 維他命和抗氧化劑,包括維他命B和 C和鉀、鎂、鋅等等。普洱茶裡的 單寧也能有效地清除口中的油膩感,因此與味道濃重的食物和菜式繁 多的盛宴是絕佳搭配。 無論與何種食物搭配,普洱茶的優雅和精緻都能像一瓶好酒一 樣,讓人們歡聚一堂。

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