Does this man have the best job in the world?

Meet Dennis – our Burgundian wine guru extraordinaire…

There is an old saying ‘the harder I work the luckier I get’. We think our buddy Dennis is lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the world – he’s a professional Burgundian wine-taster. But he certainly worked hard to get there…

Back in the mists of time, some 35 years ago, Dennis, along with his wife Ellie, left Maryland bound for Europe where they had the thought that they would train with some of the best chefs in the world. They never went home.

Ellie, pictured here picking flowers with the help of the family mutt ‘Haggis’, turned into a super-chef and is author of a wonderful book entitled ‘At Home in Burgundy: The Papillon Recipes’. It’s still available and well worth searching out.

‘Ahh, so there’s a connection with Le Papillon’, we hear you say. And for sure there is because, due to the various turns and conundrums of fate, Dennis ended up skippering Le Papillon whilst Ellie worked her magic in the galley. It was a gig that lasted for just about a decade throughout the 90’s. Of course, you can’t have good food without good wine – especially in this part of the world, so it fell to Dennis to explore the local the vineyards and build a Burgundian wine cellar. The rest is history…

Always make sure get lost on the way home…

Dennis says that the earliest advice he was given, at one of the very first Burgundian vineyards he made contact with, was ‘always make sure you get lost on the way home’. The point was that you can’t discover the undiscovered all the time you take the route you know (isn’t French philosophy simply super wonderful!). Over the years Dennis has put this into practice – to the extent we reckon it’s now pretty impossible for him to get lost anywhere along Burgundy’s fabulous Cote D’Or.Burgundian wine guru 'on the job'

Dennis’ current resume describes him as ‘a registered wine merchant, shipping small-production, estate-bottled Burgundian wines to private clients and collectors in the US. He is a professional wine-taster and writes regularly and avidly on the subject. He is also a specialist ‘gastronomic’ tour guide, with experience throughout Europe’.

All in all not a bad result for an Annapolis boy who wanted to work in a European kitchen! On Le Papillon we rely heavily on the advice Dennis gives us about new Burgundian wine-makers and vintages. He has a great nose and a great palate and our cellar is stacked with his recommendations.

From hospitality to Hospice…

Dennis and Ellie now run land-based but still ‘Papillon-style’ holidays in the very heart of Burgundy, from their luxuriously converted Manor House Domaine de Cromey. Their hospitality there has already become rather become a thing of legend. The wonderful vaulted cellar below the main buildings is a treasure-house of the finest ‘Boutique Burgundies’ available – the real class stuff, not what you find on the supermarket shelves.


Equally exciting (and perhaps even more so) is that Dennis is now attending the even more legendary annual Burgundian event – the Hospice de Beaune Wine Auction as a buyer. Here elite vintners offer wines for sale, the proceeds from which go to the upkeep of the fabulous old Hospice de Beaune which dates back to 1143 (for more detail check one of our previous blogs)

Based in the US? Let us save you money on an introductory case of Dennis’ finest Burgundy

Dennis imports Burgundy into the USA (hopefully soon to do so in the UK too) via his company Elden Selections. If you’re new to Burgundian wines, Elden offers a special ‘Introduction to Burgundy’ case delivered to your door for $275.00. If you want to try ‘real Burgundy’ you can check it out by clicking here. Better still, if you enter the code FBCB10 at the checkout, you’ll receive a 10% discount.


Click here for what’s included

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