Eleanor Garvin and Dennis Sherman traveled to France from Maryland on one-way tickets in 1983 and cooked their way through several wine regions before permanently settling in Burgundy. Could there be a better way to learn about the food and wine of France and Burgundy in particular? I don’t think so. That knowledge, accumulated over 30 years spent getting to know Burgundy’s vineyards and its vignerons is reflected in their Elden Selections, an online Burgundy specialist stocking small-production estate-bottled Burgundy wines.
Having a knowledgeable insider to guide one’s Burgundy wine selections is more important than in most wine regions because of the complexities of Burgundy’s wine classification. The number of grape varieties grown in Burgundy may be small, but Burgundy’s classification based on terroir, layered with regional, village and individual vineyard quality designations is complicated at best and defeating at worst. And we haven’t even begun to consider vintage variation or that many vineyards are owned by multiple vignerons.
Elden Selections, the name comes from a combination of Eleanor and Dennis, can work for you as a wine club for quarterly delivery or as an online retail connection for specific Burgundy purchases. It’s your choice.
What is the online experience like and how are the wines? Well, recently we ordered and received six wines from Elden Selections, so we can tell you firsthand about our experience. The wines were provided to us as tasting samples.
Informative Website – Easy Ordering – Timely Shipping
Before you even make a purchase from Elden Selections, you will notice how informative the website is. Want to know how to read a Burgundy wine label or learn about the region’s geology? Burgundy’s regions are detailed, from Chablis to Beaujolais, and you may shop by region. You may shop for wines by category: organic/biodynamic, under $35, Bourgogne and Village, Premier Cru, Grand Cru or by producer.
If the only decisions you want to make are red and/or white wine and 6 or 12 bottles per quarter, choose the wine club option. It couldn’t be simpler.
Our order arrived in a week and even during a summer heatwave the wines were cold to the touch upon receipt, having been kept cool by a refrigerant pack. The most difficult part of the process was waiting for the wines to rest for a while after receiving them before we could enjoy them. Here’s what we tasted.
A Taste of Burgundy
2017 Domaine Jean Dauvissat Père & Fils, Chablis — medium yellow in the glass with aromas of crushed rock and pineapple guava. Flavors follow with stony minerality, ripe citrus and hints of stone fruit. Nice weight on the palate and juicy acidity make for a lively finish. 12.5% abv. $34
Domaine Jean Dauvissat is now in the capable hands of Fabien Dauvissat, Jean’s son who now farms the domaine’s vineyards organically. He has taken the considerable risk of limiting vine production through winter pruning. He believes by limiting the vine yield Chardonnay will ripen and concentrate sugars thus increasing the quality of his wines.
2017 Jean-Jacques Girard, Savigny-les-Beaune — pale yellow in the glass with aromas of crushed rock and citrus. Stony minerality, grapefruit, citrus combine for a lean and juicy flavor profile that is refined and light on its feet. 13% abv. $54
Jean-Jacques Girard’s family history as vignerons in Savigny-lès-Beaune dates back in 1529. More recently Jean-Jacques’ father, Georges, left the domaine in the hands of Jean-Jacques and his brother, Phillipe. The two brothers, with different visions of the wines they wanted to make, divided the domain in half. Jean-Jacques has since increased his vineyard holdings to over 40 acres, just larger than the acreage in his father’s time. Several Premier Cru vineyards are now among his holdings.
2017 Domaine Jean Féry & Fils, Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru, ‘Les Vergelesses’ — translucent ruby in the glass with aromas of earth, bramble and blackberries that become perfumed with time in the glass. Flavors are bright and lively with raspberries, pomegranates, berry bramble, earth and smooth tannins in a barely medium body. So complex in the most elegant way. 13% abv. $69 (2018 vintage)
Domaine Jean Fery & Fils is a family winery with vineyards tucked into Burgundy’s famous appellations from north to south. In 1988 the estate of Jean-Louis’ parents passed to him. Since then he has invested considerably in the winery and purchased new vineyards. He also farms the vineyards organically and they have been certified by ECOCERT since 2011.
2014 Domaine De Suremain Château de Monthelie, Monthelie — translucent ruby in the glass with aromas of raspberries and earth. Raspberry flavors lead along with red cherry and tart cranberries. Smooth but drying tannins float in this barely medium bodied red with plenty of acidity. 13% abv. $52
Since 1978 Eric De Suremain has been in charge of his family’s estate in Monthelie. Eric put his technical agricultural degree to good use in the vineyards, which have been farmed organically since 1996. Organic certification followed in 2000 and Biodynamic principles are also employed in the vineyards.
2017 Château de Cary Potet, Montagny 1er Cru, ‘Les Burnins’ — medium yellow in the glass with aromas of crushed stones, ripe pear and melon with a squeeze of citrus. Concentrated flavors of citrus, melon and yellow peach with hints of toast are supported by bright acidity. 13.5% abv. $55
The story of Château Cary Potet is one that is near and dear to Eleanor and Dennis. It’s a story of personal connections, change over time and new connections. I can’t do the story justice in telling it here, you simply must read it. It seems a perfect description of exactly the experience Elden Selections provides in every bottle of wine they sell.
2015 Domaine Mouton, Givry 1er Cru, ‘Clos Jus’ — translucent ruby in the glass with aromas of red fruit, earth and hints of asphalt. Complex flavors of raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are supported by earthy, dried herb and dried tobacco flavors in a medium body. Hints of cedar linger on the finish along with slightly drying tannins. 13% abv. $59 (2018 vintage)
Yet another interesting family history, this time of the fight to use the family name on their wine. Yes, Laurent Mouton stood his ground against Mouton- Rothschild and voilà Domaine Mouton. Laurent and his father farm 24 acres mostly in Givry. Chardonnay and Aligote vines are 50 years old or older and the average vine age is about 30 years. The Moutons have parcels in four Premier Cru vineyards.
The themes of personal connections, family farming, and connections to the land are perfectly illustrated in each of these wines from Elden Selections. These are personal relationships best established by living in Burgundy.
And, I would add one more theme: delicious wine. Yes, I had favorites in this group of wines, but every one was absolutely delicious. Based on the wines I tasted and the speed with which our order arrived, I can recommend Elden Selections without reservation.
As a lover of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay I want to extend thanks to Creative Palate Communications for the introduction to Elden Selections. My experience with Burgundy wines has been frustrating in the past, but with this introduction I have a knowledgeable guide for future purchases.