Buying Burgundies without the hassle

Buying wine is always an adventure, with the safety of the known or allure of the unknown often driving decisions. There are so many options for finding your next tasting experience. There are small boutique stores with a knowledgeable trusted guide to steer you. There are the mega-stores with descriptive cards on many of the bottles and maybe a few staff members who will offer sound advice. There are direct winery websites with the story of the winery and their wines available for shipping. And there are wine clubs promoted by newspapers and many magazines that offer suggestions on wine regions, wine styles or particular price points. I just discovered something new and exciting. Full disclosure. The Burgundy region, south and east of Paris has always held a particular attraction for me. If I had to pick one red grape wine as a personal favorite, it would be a well-made Pinot Noir from Burgundy. And, of course, the whites from Burgundy are often sophisticated and nuanced and wonderful. Secondly, Creative Palate Communications, a local public relations operation in the wine industry, reached out to me as a media person to test drive this website wine buying experience and taste its wines, gratis. 

Decades ago, American-born Eleanor Garvin and Dennis Sherman (El + Den, hence Elden Selections), were smitten with French culture and cuisine and decided to visit France and then ultimately to move there to pursue their passion for food and wine. They began Elden Selections in 1992 and have been enhancing and fine-tuning their operation and delivering quality wine since then. Their website is easy and informative with the story of each of the 30 different producers they are now representing, all known to them, with face-to-face tastings on location a regular experience. Burgundy can be confusing. There are more than 10,000 individual growers. The Napoleonic Code made equal inheritance among offspring law, so a vineyard, over a few generations, could be subdivided and owned by many, some owning as little as an individual grape row. It wouldn’t be possible to make commercial wine with such a small plot of grapes. It is more the norm of the region to contribute the grapes to a négociant or winemaker to produce a wine for market. 

I have travelled to many of the world’s wine regions and I have been to hundreds of regional wine tastings in New York. Of course, all the known wines have their exporting business established and well lubricated. There are many wineries of the world looking to expand into other markets. To reach the U.S. market from abroad, they need to locate a licensed U.S. importer and distributor. It always surprises me how many good producers are trying to pry into the U.S. market and are having difficulties getting in. Elden Selections has found these boutique and possibly unrepresented producers from various subregions of Burgundy. They agree to terms, ship to the U.S. and promote these wines on a user-friendly web platform that makes finding a quality Burgundy a breeze. On the site, you will find producer stories, wine descriptives, pricing and shipping information. Shipping is always free when you order at least a case and Elden’s return policy is top-notch. No questions asked, complete refund for anything less than complete satisfaction. 

Most wine clubs, like old record or CD clubs, require regular and often monthly, orders. Elden Selections have no minimum requirements. Simply log on and buy as needed. This is especially convenient for city dwellers, who might not own a car or who would rather not schlep many bottles of wine from store to domicile. And a few middle men have been excised from this business model so much more of your money goes directly to the quality of the wine. 

Eleanor and Dennis live in Burgundy and have purchased and renovated The Domaine de Cromey, near Beaune in the heart of Burgundy production. The Domaine de Cromey is a luxury manor house in a gorgeous setting in the French countryside with authentic and comfortable living areas and elaborate and sumptuous guest rooms available for booking. Eleanor is a trained chef and will create a menu to enhance and accent any of the day’s activities. 

On the website, there are videos of Dennis interviewing producers of the wine that you may want to order. There are production videos that will give an up-close look at the inner workings of a small production vineyard and winery. And, of course, there are the wines to order. Or you can order a six-bottle starter kit of three reds and three whites, certain to change over time. If nothing else, there is a Burgundy education here. And with a comprehensive guarantee, there is nothing to lose. 

For more, visit burgundywine.com and in particular this video at burgundywine.com/About-Burgundy/Video, among the best I’ve seen on this subject. Write me at doug@dougpaulding.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *