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    Elden Selections: A Guide Through the Maze of Burgundy

    Elden LogoBurgundy is a storied wine area, for centuries known as the source of some of the best wine in the world.? This is the kingdom of Pinot Noir (of which almost all red Burgundy is made) and Chardonnay (which comprises virtually all of white Burgundy).? There are iconic names, such as Romanee Conti, which command incredibly high prices.? There is a reason for all the attention, and many well known people in the wine world list Burgundy as their favorite wine region.? It has been the source of that ‘aha!’ moment for many as well, that defining experience when a person first tries a truly outstanding wine, one that takes you to another level completely.? This is wine holy land.

    This is also a confusing place.? There are 100 recognized appellations in Burgundy,? known as AOCs in France, or Appellation d’Origine Contr?lée.? Some of these are nested inside each other.? Another aspect of Burgundy which contributes to the confusing landscape relates to the French laws of inheritance, and how assets are split equally between the children.? This has resulted in parcels of land being cut repeatedly into smaller segments, until now it is not unusual for individual rows, or several rows, to be owned by different individuals in the better vineyards.? Yet another aspect of Burgundy is that the classification system is tied to the vineyards themselves, not the producers.? The highest level are the?Grand Cru (which translates as ‘Great Growth”). ? Next come the?Premier Cru (which translates as ‘First Growth’). ?There are 33?Grand Cru?vineyards, and more than 600?Premier Cru. ?The label on a?Premier Cru?wine will usually have either Premier Cru or 1er Cru on the label, and thus is easily identified.? A?Grand Cru?wine may not include the words “Grand Cru“, and might just have the name of the appellation.? In that case it is up to the consumer to know if it is a?Grand Cru or not.? This is important for several reasons, not the least of which is the possible difference of hundreds of dollars in price tag.

    Also remember that the vineyard carries the designation, and that frequently the vineyards are splintered into many smaller parcels.? Thus, there are many different producers who might have a Charmes-Chambertin, or an Echezeaux?Grand Cru. ?

    Make sense?? Probably not.? It takes time and experience to become familiar with Burgundy.? We are still not.? Then there are the hundreds of producers in the region to consider, who might make wonderful wine that you will never see, and never know about.? You could take a trip and meander through the countryside for a year, which would help.? Short of that you will need assistance.? This is where Elden Selections come in.

    Elden Selections brings you into Burgundy, offering selections from throughout the region, from smaller producers hand selected for quality and value.? This ranges from entry level wines to?Grand Cru?offerings.? The wines are picked after extensive tastings, with the wine makers, to determine which producers they want to represent and offer.? The entire experience is structured to present quality and high value Burgundy wines to the consumer, wines which most consumers could never find on their own.? You’ll find wines from every region in Burgundy, and beyond actually as they also include Beaujolais.

    Eleanor Garvin and Dennis Sherman started Elden Selections back in 1992.? They have lived and worked in Burgundy for over 30 years, which is probably how long it takes to really get to know the place.? Elden Selections is aimed at wine drinkers, not collectors.? With no wines in the collection over $300, it is also aimed at people with more reasonable budgets. ? You’ll find many selections under $30, which is not that easy to do when talking about quality Burgundy.? They’re not the names you would normally find at your local wine shop, and that is a good thing.? The wine world is so varied, you owe it to yourself to expand your experience no matter what region of the world we’re talking about.

    We have some wines from the Elden Selections portfolio to review, to get a feeling for the quality to price ratio.? Let’s see what we found.

    2016 Chateau Cary Potet Montagny 1er Cru ‘Les Burnins’ –?from the C?te Chalonnaise in southern Burgundy, and the IMG_0224Montagny AOC, this?Premier Cru?wine is a light, golden yellow in color, with a nose of ripe apple, honeysuckle and very light wood tones.? There is a touch of tropical fruit lurking underneath.? It is medium bodied, finely structured with some minerality, and is clean and balanced throughout.? This is quite elegant, and clearly very well made Chardonnay.? Current price of $48 on the website.

    IMG_02222016 Jean Dauvissat Pere et Fils Chablis? – very brilliant, light golden yellow in color, this wine has a bright nose of apple, pear, wet stones and honeysuckle.? The minerality is very present.? On the palate it is clean, with some white stone fruit, as well as some apple.? This stays balanced, finishes long, and is an excellent example of top Chablis.? We had this with some baked cod, and it worked perfectly.? $36

    2017 Jean-Jacques Girard Savigny les Beaune White –?this is a pale straw in color, and the nose has IMG_0220pear, and candied apple.? The medium bodied palate brings a beautifully smooth and classy experience, with a long finish.? This wine is superbly made.? $54 on the website.

    IMG_02182014 Domaine De Suremain Chateau de Monthelie –?this juice is a rich, deep red in color. The nose is cherry with orange nuances.? There is a little bramble, a little floral and a hint of menthol.? It is complex, and nicely balanced in the mouth.? Firm but integrated tannins build a bit at the end.? An elegant red wine, and a very good one.? $49 on the website.

    2016 Domaine Jean Fery Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru ‘Les Verglesses’ –?a medium, ruby red in color, IMG_0216the wine has a nose of cherry and pomegranate, with caramel and chocolate notes as well as some herbs.? This is complex.? It is medium bodied, with fairly brisk tannins.? Acid is fresh and the wine is well balanced.? The fruit fades just a tiny bit through the mid-palate, although it still does finish quite long.? That slight fading is the difference between a very good Red Burgundy, and an excellent one.? $59 on the website.

    IMG_02252015 Domaine Mouton Givry 1er Cru ‘Clos Jus’ –?a ruby red wine, with a nose of cherry, loam, smoke, herbs and a hint of tar.? It is medium+ in body, with a palate filled with cherry fruit, and the smoky tar notes come through.? There is some iron in there as well.? It is fresh but substantial, very long and beautifully balanced throughout.? This is outstanding juice, and exactly the kind of wine that makes Elden Selections worth trying.? You would never find this wine on your own, and that would be a shame.? $49 on the website, and a wine that will make our Value List as well as our Top 25 of 2019 list, coming out right after the holidays.? This is great.

    These are all wines worth trying, and represent just a fraction of the Burgundy landscape that Elden can provide.? If you want a more in-Cromeydepth orientation to the region, Elden also offers customized experiences based at the Domaine de Cromey manor house in southern Beaune.? There are classes on wine and food, visits to producers who are not open to the general public, and what looks to be a world class wine and food experience all around.

    You can read much more about Elden Selections on their website at:?https://www.burgundywine.com/.? You can learn about the Burgundy area, its various regions, and shop from selections which span all of them.? This is not a monthly, or regular locked in shipment club either.? You can buy what you want, when you want, and that is it.? Also, remember that shipping charges in the continental US are always included in your purchase price.

    I can honestly say I will be exploring Burgundy a bit more, and there will be some purchases from Elden Selections along the way.

    A votre santé!

     

     

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