Alsace Wine

Alsace Wine

Based in commodious and picturesque half-timbered premises on the outskirts of the fortified medieval village of Eguisheim (south-west of Colmar), the Beyer family have been cultivating vines in the vicinity and making wine since the 16th Century. Current patron Marc Beyer (abetted by son Yann and daughter Anne-Sophie), is an enthusiastic advocate of the distinctive house-style, which favours wines that are drier than many in the region and have a strong expression of varietal character. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they pair well with the local cuisine and enjoy a widespread international following.

Opening the batting here is their popular Crémant d'Alsace; a bottle-fermented, effervescent blend of Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois that makes for a versatile and uplifting apéritif. With delicate wildflower scents and a zesty, citrus-edged palate with a clean finish and a fine mousse, it is a safe bet for all manner of celebrations. Marc also produces what is known locally as an Edelzwicker or 'noble mixture' called 'La Cuvée'. It is usually a blend of Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and Muscat and is designed to be a readily approachable introduction to the Beyer oeuvre. With delicate orchard fruit aromas and flavours and crisp acidity, it does not demand food although it is a traditional partner to oysters. Their Pinot Blanc is fresh, soft and fruity whilst their Pinot Gris is a little weightier and more complex with riper fruit flavours and a touch more length. Their Muscat is redolent of ripe table grapes and their Riesling has classic kerosene and lime-leaf characteristics. Characteristically spicy, their Gewurztraminer has an aromatic nose of rose and lychee with hints of white pepper and can age for up to a decade. The main red grape in the region is Pinot Noir and the Beyer cuvée has a pale brick robe, delicate 'forest floor' aromas and youthful summer berry palate underpinned by delicate tannins.

In favourable vintages, the family also bottles select 'Comtes d'Eguisheim' wines from its prized Grand Cru vineholdings. The Riesling has appealing floral aromas and a full, fruity palate with mineral undertones and fresh acidity. The Pinot Noir has raspberry and redcurrant scents and hedgerow fruit flavours supported by supple tannins. It will age well for 5 to 10 years and makes a fine foil for pork and poultry dishes.

When the correct conditions prevail, sweet, late-harvested 'Vendange Tardive' wines are also produced. Their Gewurztraminer - from the Grand Cru Pfersigberg vineyard - has tropical fruit and vanilla notes and a richly-honeyed, dried fruit palate offset by a fine acidity. It will cellar well for 10 to 20 years and gain colour and complexity with bottle age.

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  1. Alsace: Léon Beyer 'La Cuvée' 2020
    Bottle
    £14.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £171.00
  2. Alsace: Léon Beyer 'Réserve Personnelle' Riesling 2020
    Bottle
    £17.75
    Bottle (Case)
    £213.00
  3. Alsace: Léon Beyer 'Comtes d'Eguisheim' Riesling 2012
    Bottle
    £39.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £479.40
  4. Alsace: Léon Beyer 'Réserve Personnelle' Pinot Noir 2017
    Bottle
    £18.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £227.40
  5. Alsace: Léon Beyer 'Comtes d'Eguisheim' Pinot Noir 2015
    Bottle
    £39.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £479.40
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Alsace Wine Region

Occupying the key strategic territory between the Vosges mountains and the river Rhine, Alsace has changed hands like a passed parcel over the centuries but has remained officially French since the Potsdam Agreement of 1945. The result of this fluid history is a uniquely Rhine-ish identity that can be seen in its culture, architecture, cuisine and wine. Onions, cabbages, potatoes, pork, eggs, cheese and pastry all loom large in the local culinary repertoire, which is complimented to perfection by a diverse range of highly distinctive and aromatic 'single-varietal' wines.

AOC Alsace was created in 1962 (Cremant followed in 1976) and the region mainly produces white wines - 90% of production. 51 Grand Cru sites were formally recognised in 2011, yet even they deliver remarkable value for money.