French Wine Tutor

How I Started My Wine Collection with iDealwine

I’ve lived in a city – whether Washington D.C., Paris, or New York – since 2013. And while my permanent address has had all kinds of changes, one thing has not: the small place I have available for my wine collection. So when my friends at iDealwine reached out and wanted to help me up my cellar game, I was intrigued. How can anyone convert a small area into a safe space for aging fine wine? And is it possible to start a collection with only $300? Read on to find out.

With the budget and bottle limit out of the way, I also wanted to make sure I incorporated three other criteria in my selection: 1) Make sure at least two of the wines are organic or biodynamic, 2) Try bidding on wines at auction at least once, and 3) Incorporate a mix of mature and newer vintages.

As a French wine lover, I was already quite the fan of iDealwine. They’re based in Paris and have a French version of the site (as well as English), but the best part is that you get phenomenal French wines at French cost – which means that everything you buy will be significantly less expensive than it is stateside. And you don’t have to pay in euros, either, you can pay in USD to avoid exchange fees. Staying on a budget? No problem!

I started my journey in their fixed price wine selection.

My Fixed-Price Picks

  • Domaine Marcel Deiss, Grand Cru Burg 2014 (Alsace), $36
    • Why I Picked It: For starters, I’m a serious fan of Alsace’s crus. They’re not only incredible value, but they’re also great wines to age. Deiss’ commitment to organic and biodynamic farming make him one of the region’s top producers. Need I say more?
  • Marc Delienne, Fleurie, “Avalanche de Printemps” 2019 (Beaujolais), $24

    • Why I Picked It: I love an underdog. Delienne is new to winemaking and to Beaujolais, having just purchased land in 2015. I’d read an article about him over the summer but couldn’t find his wines really over here in the U.S., so it was a treat to see him on iDealwine. Sometimes the French leave the best kept secrets to themselves!
  • Domaine Etienne Sauzet, Puligny-Montrachet 2018 (Bourgogne), $63

    • Why I Picked It: One of my goals in starting this collection was to pick at least one wine I knew could age for a few more years. Puligny-Montrachet checked that box handily, and with rave reviews for this producer, I figured it was worth the gamble.
  • Domaine de la Chevalerie, Bourgueil 2005 (Loire), $34

    • Why I Picked It: According to iDealwine’s ,handy vintage chart, 2005 was a great year for Loire reds. Having only tasted aged Muscadet (which by the way – if you haven’t tried, is amazing), I figured it was time to try out some Cabernet Franc with a bit of time on it.
  • Jean-Louis Dutraive, Fleurie “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes” 2019 (Beaujolais) $28

    • Why I Picked It: I’m sorry, did you see that price?! This wine – which enters cult obsession territory for Beaujolais in the U.S., basically always goes for upwards of $50. Having tried and loved this wine in the past, I just couldn’t pass up a deal. I love Dutraive as much as the next girl but it is not worth $65 a bottle. For $28 though, I couldn’t say no!


My Auction Picks

I kept my fixed-price wine selection well under budget to make sure I had the money to bid on a really beautiful wine. In the beginning, I kept it open and actually placed a number of bids – from this beautiful ,Geantet-Pensiot Gevrey-Chambertin to an ,IGP Pays du Vaucluse from Domaine des Tours. In the end though, I felt I had to go Grand Cru Burgundy – because how can you not?!

  • Domaine Dupont-Tisserandot Corton-Rognet Grand Cru 2003, (Bourgogne) $101

    • Why I Picked It: I made my first pilgrimage to Burgundy this summer and stood at the top of the Corton hill. And while I also spend a lot of time in Pommard, it was the Corton wines: Aloxe-Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, and Corton-Rognet – that stole me. While this wine will probably peak in the next couple of years, I think it’s could be a great one to open around the holidays and pair with all those great Christmas dishes – stay tuned for my review!


Things to Keep in Mind

Great wines, right?! At this point, you’re probably wondering what exactly it was like to choose, bid on, and order these fabulous bottles. The short version is that it was fun and a breeze, but if you’re considering iDealwine for your collection, here are my tips!

  • Shipping Times: Because iDealwine is based out of France, processing and shipping times are significantly longer than ordering from a U.S.-based auctioneer (but the selection and French touch make it totally worth it, in my opinion!). Expect shipping time to be 1-2 weeks from when your order is processed, depending on where you live.
  • Watch the European Timezones: When you’re bidding on a wine at auction you are really excited about, make sure the expiry time is at a normal hour. A lot of lots ended around 4 a.m. EST, which meant I would’ve missed my chance for a winning bid simply because I’d be asleep! I had help from the iDealwine staff this time around (who are lovely!), but if you’re going about it on a U.S. timezone solo, just make sure you watch the date and time left!
  • Trust The Experts: If you’re new to bidding, collections, and old vintages, make sure you take some time to read through some of the resources on iDealwine’s site. I’m not kidding! They have a ton of thorough information available to help you with your purchase, including this handy ,Vintage Guide, a ,Help Me Choose! quiz, where you’ll find of-the-moment recommendations from their in-house sommelière according to your budget, and a totally customizable Tailor-Made Cellar service. If you’re short on time and don’t know where to start, the Tailor-Made Cellar is an incredible option! I almost tried it myself.

All in all, I love my new wine collection and I can’t wait to see how each bottle evolves over time. Get €15 ($16.89) off your first order of €150 ($168.99) or more with code FWT15. Good luck building that collection!

** This post was sponsored by iDealwine. Views & opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.


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