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Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

What is Raj Parr drinking: A Delectable (get it?) study

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:25

Coming out of our trip to Burgundy with Raj Parr (noted Sommelier cum winemaker), I gained the distinct impression, based on the social drinking experiences recorded in the pictures below, that he had a preference for Burgundy and Northern Rhone wines and Champagne.

First night dinner at Bistro de l'Hotel with RajSecond-day lunch in Burgundy
Third-day lunch in Burgundy
Lunch at Willi's Wine Bar in ParisI sought to validate these thoughts by studying Raj's posts to the Delectable platform and my findings are reported herein. I was comfortable that using Delectable would reveal his preferences because: (i) during our time together, Raj was religious about posting every wine we drank to the site and (ii) he generally took on the task of ordering the wine, a role that he would probably assume in most settings.

I examined Raj's posts to Delectable up to, and including, Monday of this week. He is a serial wine consumer so the data points might have shifted somewhat within the intervening timeframe but I would expect the volumes to have shifted, rather than the trends. A point of note. The Delectable system will only record one bottle per picture, regardless of how many bottles are in the shot. As a result, the top-level numbers are understated. For example, when Raj participated in an 8-bottle DRC vertical, the site only recorded one bottle. For the top-level analysis, I used the Delectable numbers; for Commune-level analysis I counted the bottles in order to get granular accuracy.

So here is a brief summary of some of the key findings:

  • 73% of the wine that Raj consumes is of French origin with the US (10%), Italy (6%), Germany (3%) following in that order. Japan and Spain are a little above 1% while Australia, Canada, NZ, Austria, Greece, and Portugal barely pass his lips.
  • At the regional level, Burgundy comprises 35% of his total consumption, the Rhone 12%, the Loire Valley 10%, Champagne 8%, and Bordeaux and Piedmont 3% each. The US equivalent of this grouping is a state and California tops the the other states with 8%. That is not, however, as revealing of a wine style as are the preceding regions. What I find striking here is the showing of Piedmont and Bordeaux vis a vis their peers, a confirmation of my initial perception as to Raj's preferences.
  • Turning to the countries, let us first look at France. Burgundy represents 48% of Raj's French wine consumption, with the Rhone (16%), Loire Valley (14%), Champagne (10%), Bordeaux (4%), Jura (3%), and Languedoc-Roussillon (1%) following. All other French regions are less than 1% individually.
    • Within Burgundy, 44% of the wines consumed were from the Cote de Nuit, 31% from the Cote de Beaune, 10% from Chablis, 7% from Beaujolais, and 1% each from Cote Chalonnaise and Cotes d'Auxerre.
      • To give a sense of the granularity that the data set allows, in the case of the Cote de Nuit, we are able to see that Raj's preferences are for wines from Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanee, Chambolle-Musigny, Flagey-Echezeaux, and Morey-St-Denis, in that order.
      • We are also able to discern that Raj is most likely to be drinking Armand Rousseau and Dujac wines in Gevrey-Chambertin (he is particularly partial to Chambertin) and DRC in Vosne-Romanee.
      • Finally, we can show that he is primarily drinking wines from the 1990s and 2000s in these Cote de Nuit communes.
    • Within Rhone, 83% of the wines that Raj consumed originated in the Northern Rhone.
    • For the Loire Valley, 82% of the consumed wines were from Anjou-Saumur, 18% from Touraine, and 14% from the Central Vineyards.
    • In the case of Champagne, 24% of the wines were from Montagne de Reims, 13% from Cote de Blanc and Valle de Marne, respectively, 12% from Aube, and 10% from Cote de Sezanne.
  • Fully 70% of Raj's US wine consumption was from California. Oregon (21%), Oregon/Washington (11%) and Virginia (8%) had meaningful contributions.
  • The dominant Italian regions were Piedmont (53%), Tuscany (13%), and Sardinia (12%).
And on it goes. There is a wealth of information contained in the platform but the data have to be manually extracted and analyzed.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Domaine Armand Rousseau: Iconic Burgundy

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:06

Domaine Armand Rousseau, the Gevrey-Chambertin-based producer of fine Burgundy wines, is hailed by BBR as "one of the grand old domaines of Burgundy" which lauds its offerings as "pale, finely structured wines of great elegance and stamina." This well-regarded and well-respected domaine has attained its stature due in no small part to: (i) the acquisition prowess and business innovations of its founder Armand Rousseau; (ii) the establishment of international markets by his son Charles; and (iii) the quality of its flagship wines (Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, and Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques). So it was with great anticipation that we headed out to taste the wines of this estate after our epic April 30th barrel and bottle tastings at DRC.

We were greeted at the winery by Fréderic Robert, the individual at the estate with responsibility for customer relationships, and, after introductions and some small talk, we headed down into the cellar to begin tasting the wines. Before the discussion of the tasting, some background is in order.

Ron, Raj, the author, and Fréderic Robert (Domaine Rousseau)
Domaine Armand Rousseau is currently managed by Charles Rousseau, the son of the founder, with the assistance of his son, Eric. The estate grows Pinot Noir grapes for its wines on 40 - 45 year old vines at Grand Cru (Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey-St-Denis) as well as Premier Cru and Village-level sites. The Premier Cru and Village sites are all located in Gevrey-Chambertin. The detailed distribution of vineyards by site is shown here in tabular form -- and below in map form -- but, in summary, the estate owns 8.5 ha of Grand Cru vineyards, 3.57 ha of Premier Cru vineyards, and 2.4 ha of Village-level vineyards.

The Pinot Noir clones used for the estate's wines are selected for small production and concentration and the vines are further stressed by planting densities of 11,000 vines/ha. Traditional viticultural management is practiced but with a focus on low yields manifested in de-budding and green harvesting in productive years.

Significant effort is expended to ensure harvesting at the "right" time in order to "optimize the maturity of the grapes and the concentration of phenolic components." The domaine's winemaking process is illustrated below.

We began by tasting elements of the 2013 vintage from barrel. Fréderic indicated that 2013 was a very difficult vintage but, he said, Christophe Roumier had told him that, despite that difficulty, 2013 would end up being like the 1978 vintage. We began with the Premier Cru Lavalle St. Jacques. Acidity level in this wine was very high. Wild berries and spice. Tannic. Fréderic expressed that he had liked the 2012 version of this wine (was not indicating a dislike for this vintage by that comment). This wine was being aged in second-year barrels.

The second wine tasted was the Clos de La Roche. This wine was being aged in 100% new oak barrels. A toasty nose due to some reduction. Earthy and dense red fruit. Spice. Great texture and finish.

The third wine was the Ruchotte-Chambertin. Meat and bacon on the nose. Ron noted dark fruits and spice with mineral notes. Structured.

We tasted the Clos St Jacques and Clos de Bèze in quick succession. They both exhibited dark red fruits and spice with the Clos de Bèze expressing more power and gaminess. Both are balanced wines.

The 2011 Chambertin Grand Cru was tasted out of bottle. This wine was, obviously, much more evolved than the wines that were tasting out of barrel but, nevertheless, its flagship status was immediately evident. On the nose berry fruit, minerality, and spice. Power and density on the palate with ripe tannins. Long, balanced finish. Fréderic noted that the Clos de Bèze is normally approachable earlier than is the Chambertin. A truly lovely wine.

We also tasted the 2009 Ruchotte-Chambertin out of bottle. This wine exhibited berry fruit, earth, minerality, dried herbs, and spice on the nose with a long, balanced finish.


This was truly a great tasting experience. Especially following so closely on the heels of the DRC tasting. A 2005 Burgundy Report ( profiling the domaine pithily captures the esteem in which its offerings are held: "It has been said that if you want the safest route to a fine bottle of Chambertin or Chambertin Clos de Bèze, then make sure the label says Domaine Armand Rousseau." We were extremely happy to have tasted these products at the origin point of the route.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

Domaine Armand Rousseau (Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuit, Burgundy) vineyard sites

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 11:57

Domaine Armand Rousseau grows grapes for the production of Grand Cru, Premier Cru, and Village  wines in a number of vineyards in the communes of Gevrey-Chambertin and Morey-Saint-Denis (two parcels in a Grand Cru vineyard). The characteristics of the sites in the noted appellations are presented below.

      Domaine Armand Rousseau Grand Cru Appellation VineyardsAppellationSize (ha)AspectSoilClos de La Roche1.48East Hard calcareous with a depth of 30 cm and big stonesCharmes-Chambertin (grapes from Charmes and Mazoyers)1.47do.Mazoyers - Comblanchian limestone with a shallow gravel layerCharmes - Upper: entroqual limestone                  Lower: ComblanchianChambertin2.55do.Screes rich in limestone; plot located mid-slope on entroqual limestone of lower Bajocian and Maris BajociennisChambertin Clos de Bè shallow with layers of red marl; very pebbly, shallow, and infertile. Oolithic limestone dating from BathonianMazy-Chambertin0.52do.Premeaux limestone of the Bathonian. Soil dense in Mazy-bas (where the plot is located and as opposed to Mazy-haut), with depths of as much as 1.5 m.Source: Underlying data from

      Domaine Armand Rousseau Premier Cru AppellationVineyardsAppellationSize (ha)AspectSoilLavaux-Saint-Jacques0.76SoutheastTwo parcels located at bottom of slope. Soil 33% limestone with 25 cm fine gravel covering.Premeaux limestone at top of plot with remainder loamy limestone. The soil produced is less deep; dark and rich in light calcareous stonesClos St. Jacques2.21do.Domaine Rousseau owns 1/3 of Clos. Rich soil that is rocky at the top, giving a very shallow clay soilMiddle has deeper soil with a Bajocian base; the soil here is rich in clay and limestoneLower end based on Premeaux limestone; rich clay and flinto soils.Les Cazetiers0.60EastOrange ochre rich in loam and limestone. Three types of soil:

  1. Upper: clay and limestone; soil often rich in clay
  2. Middle: rock- and scree-covered slope
  3. Lower: silt with clay and limestone
Source: Underlying data from

    Domaine Armand Rousseau Village Appellation VineyardsAppellationSize (ha)AspectSoilVillage2.40 over nine parcels; seven parcels (1.68 ha) used in blend.EastThe following vineyards are used in the blend:
  • Le Crais
  • Creux Brouillard
  • Clos Prieur
  • En Champs
  • Les cerceiuls
  • Les Etournelles
  • Perrieres
The latter two are Premier Cru sites which are included in the Village blend.The blending is done at harvest time.Source: Underlying data from
Our visit to the domaine and tasting of its wines are described here.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme


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