Riesling is unquestionably one of the world’s finest grape varieties, yet Riesling is likely the most misunderstood grape varietal in the United States, due at least in part to the predominance of inexpensive, low alcohol, sweet Rieslings from Germany that pervaded the American market for decades. However, not all Rieslings are created equal, nor are all Rieslings sweet. Alsace Rieslings such as Emile Beyer’s 2020 Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling bear little resemblance to the inexpensive German Rieslings of yesteryear. Emile Beyer’s 2020 Grand Cru Eichberg Alsace is a dry, bold, mouthwatering wine with a captivating bouquet of orchard fruits, rich, deep-down fruit flavors, and laser-like minerality, which completely captivate the nose and palate. In the mouth, bracing acidity gives way to a rich mid palate of pineapple and exotic fruit flavors before finishing with a flourish. The youthful 2020 Emile Beyer Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling is a joy to drink now, but it is no wilting flower. Additional time in the bottle will only increase its depth and breadth, but there is no need to wait. For optimum enjoyment, we suggest you afford this buxom beauty time to breathe, as you would a fine red wine, before serving it moderately chilled (40º-45º F). Savvy consumers will also want to cellar a few bottles of this special Grand Cru Riesling to enjoy over the next several years. Anticipated maturity: 2023-2029. A Votre Santé!
The 2020 Emile Beyer Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling is fit for the finest tables and is meant to be drunk with a splendid meal. Traditional Alsatian favorites such as juicy pork roasts with apples and savory sauerkraut, Choucroute Garnie (ham, pork ribs, and sausage cooked in sauerkraut and served with spicy mustards), Quiche Lorraine, leek tarts, and country pâtés offer tried and true accompaniments to Christian Beyer’s 2020 Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling, but this artfully crafted wine also makes a splendid companion to Spicy Thai Basil Chicken, Asian stir fries and artfully crafted Fusion dishes, as there is no wimp in this wine. Seared Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce and Grilled Monk Fish with Mango and Citrus Chutney provide other mouthwatering companions to this wine. Curried Shrimp and Jamaican Coconut Shrimp provide other tasty accompaniments. Vegetables such as artichokes and asparagus as well as spices that often pose challenges when paired with lesser white wines find favor, too, with Emile Beyer’s 2020 Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling. And, if preparing a meal is too much fuss, full-flavored cow’s milk cheeses provide wonderful accompaniments to Christian Beyer’s Eichberg Riesling. Enjoy!
Domaine Emile Beyer and nearly five centuries of history in Alsace remain intertwined. Since the year 1580, at least 14 generations of the Beyer family have cultivated vines in the picturesque village of Eguisheim, unquestionably one of the greatest wine communes in Alsace and the setting for the film version of Sleeping Beauty. Each successive generation of Beyers, profoundly rooted in the vineyard and land, have in turn passed on their passion for wine to the next generation – and wine lovers are the beneficiaries. Moreover, since the coming of age of Christian Beyer, the domain’s present guardian, Beyer’s wines have ascended to the top echelon of Alsace wines.
Under the leadership of the youthful Christian Beyer and his wife Valerie, the venerable domaine of Emile Beyer cultivates 17 hectares (37.5 acres) of prime vineyards in Eguisheim, including two Grand Cru sites, Eichberg and Pfersigberg, from which Beyer fashions exceptional wines. This month’s feature is Emile Beyer’s extraordinary Eichberg Grand Cru Riesling. “Giving happiness, with elegant wines: this is what I take pride in doing,” is Christian Beyer’s mantra, and by all accounts he succeeds in doing just that. From estate vineyards Beyer produces an enviable portfolio of wines, including outstanding Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer. Muscat, Sylvaner and several excellent Pinot Noirs also figure highly in the mix. In short, there is no dearth of fine wine from Christian Beyer at Domaine Emile Beyer.
Alsace is quite possibly the most picturesque wine region in all France. It is an enchanted land of beautifully restored half-timbered houses, flower bedecked balconies and window boxes, and of course vineyards. Alsace is bounded by the Vosges Mountains to the west, which block out the dreary maritime weather that plagues so much of the rest of northern France, and the Rhine River and Germany to the east. On account of its favored position and corresponding climate, Alsace is the sunniest province in northern France. This extra sunshine makes Alsace an ideal spot for the cultivation of the vine and the production of premium wines.
In Alsace, white wine reigns supreme. This is a matter of local preference and tradition, in spite of the province’s production of some very noteworthy Pinot Noir wines and the contemporary clamor for red wine. Pinot Blanc is the staple of Alsace, where it makes a fresh, flavorful wine of considerable merit. Alsace also crafts some of the world’s most compelling white wines from Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris – the vast majority of which are made dry rather than sweet. The relative dryness of most Alsatian wines comes as a surprise to many, especially to those for whom German sounding names and tall thin green bottles are synonymous with sweetness. However, Alsatian wines are unique unto themselves and rarely do they resemble their German counterparts in style, flavor, or level of residual sugar. Robert Parker Jr. has called the wines of Alsace “some of the greatest white wines produced on the planet,” and they’re some of the most pleasurable and hedonistic, too.
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