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Special selection of one of the most popular and recognized yerba mate brands in Argentina feels more like a spin-off, rather than improvement over the Rosamonte Tradicional. Don’t expect Rosamonte Selección Especial to be a better, more complex yerba mate in their lineup — these two blends are like brothers — similar but different at the same time. Think of Rosamonte Selección Especial as an “introverted”, calmer and more balanced version of “extroverted” and wild Rosamonte Tradicional, and decide for yourself if it deserves to be called special.
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Despite the fact that Rosamonte Selección Especial was dried using the barbacuá method, I am not able to detect any smoky notes in the nose of this yerba mate. During a long period of aging, that varies from 12 to 24 months, smokiness disappears, and a very rich, strong aroma of a high-quality yerba mate is developed. It is definitely more fragrant than regular Rosamonte Tradicional and has that pronounced earthiness and plumminess which is typical to Argentine yerba mate brands. It is also a very sweet smell that reminds me of La Merced Barbacua, apart from the intense smokiness. Overall, it’s a very right and classic aroma that doesn’t have any weird or unusual notes but hits all the right spots.
Rosamonte Selección Especial has a very beautiful uniform Argentine cut that is short on the powder, unlike Rosamonte Tradicional. The only thing that is similar, when it comes to a cut of these two blends, is the coarseness of the leaves. Stems in Rosamonte Selección Especial are pretty average in size and not as big and thick as in the regular version, and the overall color is much more vibrant and green in this more aged special selection yerba mate.
Rosamonte Selección Especial is not hard to prepare, despite not having a lot of dust in its cut — there is no problem with maintaining the mountain of yerba and coarse cut does not create any issues with clogging the bombilla.
Compared to Rosamonte Tradicional, this yerba mate likes a bit colder water —
60°Cto65°C/140°Fto150°F is perfect for Rosamonte Selección Especial. Colder water doesn’t burn out all those delicate flavors that are developed during 12 to 24 months of aging and makes it last for much longer than in, say,
70°C/160°F or higher temperature water.
Selección Especial yerba mate is expected to be very balanced and smooth, which this Rosamonte definitely is. Moderately bitter and sweet, earthy, but not to the point when it could become repulsive, Rosamonte Selección Especial tastes very delicious and drinkable. It is woodsy and not just oaky, but slightly spicy and fragrant, tasting somewhat like palo santo wood, no matter which gourd has been used. Just like with the nose of this yerba mate, I haven’t noticed any smokiness in the taste of Rosamonte Selección Especial, so it should not disturb the unprepared palate, while appealing to experienced drinkers with expected medium-bodied, but very well-delivered inherent flavors.
Do not expect this mate to be a more complex version of Rosamonte Tradicional — it doesn’t surprise with uncommon rich flavors. Rosamonte Selección Especial is more like a more balanced and smoother version of their regular mate, and I enjoy it a bit more than more raw, wild and smoky Rosamonte Tradicional.
Strong and long finish really suits this mate, even if it is a bit more bitter than I think it should be. The aftertaste is also sweeter and sometimes feels more pronounced than the actual taste of Rosamonte Selección Especial. Slight hint of roasted sunflower seeds can be noticed in the finish of this mate, providing an interesting final chord to the overall mouthfeel.
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Rosamonte Selección Especial becomes washed around 20 refills, which makes it an exemplary moderate durability mate. Flavors are distributed pretty evenly throughout the whole duration of drinking, displaying some green tea characteristics closer to lavado, which is sweet, grassy and delicious on its own.
The last thing you want while drinking mate is to constantly re-heat your water or add more ice to it.
No matter if it's hot mate or cold tereré,
or a very popular in South America
I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxing and energizing at the same time was Rosamonte Selección Especial. I would describe it more like clarity rather than vigor, which is great for drinking at any time of the day, and especially good during an intensive work that requires concentration and focus.
What are your thoughts on Rosamonte Selección Especial? Comment below!
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The oldest method of drying yerba mate, first used by Guarani indians hundreds of years ago. During the barbacuá process, the leaves are exposed to the heat of a wood fire for a long period of time (around 12-24 hours), which gives the final product distinctive smoky flavor.
Pronounced [YER-bah MAH-teh] (or [SHER-bah MAH-teh] in Rioplatense Spanish). Also known as Ilex paraguariensis, a holly plant natively grown in South America, particularly in Northern Argentina, Paraguay and Southern Brazil (the term erva mate is used there more often). Yerba mate is used to make a beverage known as mate in Spanish, or chimarrão in Portugese. Oftenly, the term yerba mate is used to describe not only a plant, but also a final product of grinding, drying and aging the plant. Wikipedia article
When mate is prepared traditionally, a mountain of yerba is yerba that is located inside the gourd in form of slope, that is exposed to hot water while drinking. Proper mountain of yerba will be always half-dry and half-wet, which results in more balanced and long mate. On the opposite side of mountain is the water hole.
Special selection in Spanish. When yerba mate is branded as selección especial it usually means that leaves and plant material are carefully selected before being used to produce such yerba mate. That, oftenly combined with longer aging process, results in yerba mate that has very rich taste compared to the regular yerba mate from same manufacturer.
South American tree, also known as Bursera graveolens. Translates as holy stick from Spanish. Palo santo is a popular material for gourds because its naturally sweet, fragrant and unique smelling wood contributes to the flavor of mate.
A vessel used for drinking mate traditionally. Usually it is made from a real dried calabash gourd, or calabaza in Spanish, hence the name. Today the term gourd is used not only to describe a calabash vessel, but any other cup from which mate is being drank (wooden, metal, ceramic, etc.)
Pronounced [MAH-teh]. Traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink, very popular in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Brazil (the term chimarrão is used there more often). It is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in the gourd. Sometimes the gourd itself is referred to as mate. Wikipedia article
Spanish adjective which means washed. Used as a term to point out that all the flavors “washed away” from mate and it becomes tasteless. The more refills yerba mate can take before becoming lavado, the longer durability it has.