Yes, A Burgundy-Only Wine Portal Does Exist: My Review of Elden Selections
First off, don’t call it a wine club, because Elden Selections is not a wine club – it’s a Burgundy-only wine portal.
This means you don’t get random bottles of wine sent to your home each month.
You only get the Burgundy gems you decide you want and when you want from the 30 under-the-radar, small-production wine producers in Burgundy who currently offer around 250 wines for you to choose from through Elden Selections.
The Concept of a Burgundy-Only Wine Portal
I find the concept of a Burgundy-only wine portal intriguing for a few reasons.
First, I love focus when it comes to exploring wine because it allows you to drill down and really understand a region and variation in style across a region.
Second, wine from Burgundy is the most expensive wine in the world in part because so little of it is produced relative to its high demand.
So, having an inside track on wines that most people don’t have access to is appealing.
Third, a Burgundy-only wine portal is likely to attract underdog, small-production winemakers of a certain ilk, that I’d like to get to know better.
Lastly, given its Burgundy-only focus, a highly-specialized wine portal can ill-afford to curate any duds.
Because of these reasons, I was excited to be invited by Elden Selections to experience the wine portal firsthand with a selection of six Burgundies.
But first, I wanted to know more about “Elden” of Elden Selections.
Who is Elden?
As it turns out, the portal isn’t named anyone named “Elden”.
The portal name is a mashup of the founders’, Ellie Garvin’s and Dennis Sherman’s, first names (el + den = elden).
The American couple created the portal in 1995 after uprooting their lives in Maryland and moving to the France.
Over the past 25 years, they have developed personal relationships with grape growers and winemakers in Burgundy, many of whom don’t even have tasting rooms or offer their wines for sale outside of France.
Wines from these producers are the ones Ellie and Dennis drink themselves and curate through the Elden Selections wine portal.
Burgundy drinkers know that unlike many wine regions in the world where one producer owns the land and sources grapes exclusively from their own vineyard, Napoleonic laws of inheritance have led to fractured land ownership and empowered négociant intermediaries who source grapes from multiple vineyards in Burgundy to sell to wine producers.
This reality makes navigating the world of Burgundy even that much more difficult, especially for the lay Burgundy drinker.
So, the curation piece adds a layer of value on top of an already-complicated, Burgundy-production model.
Now, let’s get to my favorite part – the wine!
When you visit Elden Selections’ website, they allow you to choose wines by sorting through producer profiles which include photographs of producers themselves, descriptions of producer production philosophies and listings of wines available through the wine portal.
This process is more personal than the way most websites approach wine discovery.
Many of the wines are under $30 with no wines over $300 even as the portal offers thirteen Grand Crus.
I ordered three white Burgundies and three red Burgundies, and the following week I received the wines.
The package came with a note card that was personally signed by an Elden team member thanking me for supporting small-production Burgundy wines. [I smudged the signature ink to verify its authenticity]
Here are wines I sampled and links to more in-depth reviews of each wine:
- Château de Cary Potet, Les Burnins Montagny Premier Cru 2016, Burgundy, France (Wine Casual, 89 Points)
- Domaine de Suremain, Château de Monthelie 2014, Burgundy, France (Wine Casual, 90 Points)
- Jean-Jacques Girard, Savigny-Les-Beaune 2017, Burgundy, France (Wine Casual, 90 Points)
- Jean Féry & Fils, ‘Les Vergelesses’ Premier Cru Pernand-Vergelesses 2016, Burgundy, France (Wine Casual, 90 Points)
- Domaine Mouton, ‘Clos Jus’ Givry Premier Cru 2015, Burgundy, France (Wine Casual, 90 Points)
- Domaine Jean Dauvissat Père & Fils, Chablis 2016, Burgundy, France (Wine Casual, 92 Points)
So, how were the wines, and what was my experience overall?
I have to say I enjoyed the wines overall as noted in my individual reviews, especially the Chablis.
It’s a rare treat to spend a week at home over dinner examining the subtle impact of terroir and varying levels of complexity within one region.
I especially enjoyed the window into the cellars of small producers I would otherwise not have an opportunity to access.
The experience of being able to select Burgundy wines with the useful training wheels afforded by Elden Selections’ curation was a good one.
I have a friend who collects Burgundy, whom I thought about the entire time I was tasting through these wines; this wine portal would be the perfect place for me to pick up a wine for him.
As experiences go, I find the Burgundy-only, online-wine-portal experience to be positive, including for all the reasons I found the concept intriguing earlier.
Elden Selections is an ideal resource for the person who enjoys Burgundy and wants to access small producers without the guesswork.