Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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

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 Raj
Second-day lunch in Burgundy

Third-day lunch in Burgundy

Lunch at Willi's Wine Bar in Paris
I 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

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