Even though it occupies a tiny part of France, Burgundy or Bourgogne, occupies an outsize place in the wine world’s imagination. Part of it is because of sheer supply and demand. This region cannot supply enough wine to keep up with the insatiable demand of wine collectors everywhere and most recently, from China. Part of it is history that is linked to that elusive term, terroir. As Christophe Roumier, who looks after several grand cru labels in Burgundy says in a publicly available Youtube video, terroir happens because a single varietal, the pinot noir is planted in a variety of terrains– the hillsides and lower down– and over several decades. By conducting this controlled experiment, this region has been able to make its vines and wines sing.
How did our wines fare? Well, we all agreed on the wines and gave it points. After the big reveal of which glass carried which wine, this is what we found out.
The Roumier began life smelling a little damp. We wondered if it needed more decanting than the 3 hours we accorded it. Gradually, it opened up to become the haunting, restrained pinot noirs that are eulogized in the movie, Sideways. It took a whole hour of swirling in the glass for the wine to truly reveal itself but finally it did and those of us who waited for it were glad. The Patrice Rion had aromas of fennel, coffee, sour cherry, and for me, most interesting of all, smoke and cigars. The Magnien was well structured and epitomized the scents and flavours of what the world imagines a Burgundy wine to possess: cherry, oak, restraint, structure, a good balance of acid and tannins and a long finish.
The TWC has certain rules that make sense. The first rule is that we all share the cost of the wines. We use wine-searcher.com and get the average price. This is because we don’t know how each person has acquired the wine. Some members buy their wines en primeur and get it at a good rate. If the price goes up, they are happy because they get to share their rare and lovely wines with a group of wine-crazy friends and get some of their investment back in return. Some buy it at auction where we don’t have control over the price. Using Wine Searcher is a good way to regulate the prices. After that, Devesh Agarwal, the founder creates a spreadsheet calculating who has to pay how much based on an equal cost-sharing. The table below explains the process. I have shortened the names of the members to preserve privacy.