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Leon Beyer

This is quite a substantial property with wines from its own holdings of about 20 hectares in sites including Grand Cru Pfersigberg and Eichberg and from its negotiant business with purchases from about 70 independent gorwers on about 50 hectares. The House origins date back to 1580, but in 1867 the “Maison the Vins d’Alsace” was established. Marc, together with his son Yann-Leon, has took over the reins from his father Leon.

Vinification is carried out in an uninterventionist manner. The grapes are hand harvested, gently pressed and the juice released separated from the solid parts. Fermentation is achieved through indigenous yeasts in big old wooden barrels or steel tanks. Of course, no chaptalization is practised. Malolactic fermentation is avoided. A racking is done before the winter to clarify the wine. Another filtration takes place in the spring of the following year before bottling.

 The Beyers are one of few producers in Alsace to vinify all of their wines completely dry (other than the VT and SGN) producing top class “gastronomic” wines, i.e. wines suitable for gastronomic partnesrhips. This is evident from the wine lists of many of the world’s best restaurants featuring Beyer’s bottles, including three Michelin star establishments such as Auberge de l’Ille, Alain Ducasse, Au Crocodile and El Bulli. 

 The generic wines are produced from all the common Alsatian varieties and are generally sound with a very dry and focused character, but lacking some weight and can sometimes disappoint. Quality is higher with the range of Reserve wines, displaying a reasonable layer of complexity. The Grandes Cuvees represent the top range. Produced mainly from grapes grown in own Grand Cru holdings (Pfersigberg and Eichberg), they are generally rich and concentrated, with real elegance and textural appeal. Rieslings le Ecaillers and Comtes D’Eguisheim stand out. As at Hugel, the Beyers have little interest in the Grand Cru classification and therefore wines are not labelled this way, this also allows for a greater flexibility in the use of grapes from non Grand Cru plots when these are considered of not sufficiently good level for top range bottlings. The only wines in which the Beyers allow for residual sugar are the VT and SGN. These can achieve an  astonishing depth and complexity, they are never fat, on the contrary they maintain the typical Beyer style of elegant austerity and muscularity.

Last visit: Dec 22, 2009

Contact details:
Address: 2 rue de la Première Armée
 68420 Eguisheim
Telephone: +33 (0) 3 89 21 62 30
Fax: +33 (0) 3 89 23 93 63
www.leonbeyer.fr

Among the wines tasted:

Riesling Les Ecaillers 2004: Produced in around 25000 bottles from grapes in the Grand Cru Pfersigberg, with a Limestone and Clay soil composition. Rich, with remarkable depth of fruit and concentration. A vigorous, lifting acid backbone supports the fullness of the fruit making the wine “roll” in the mouth, stimulating the taste buds. Superb. Good now but will develop well for the next 10 to 15 years.

Riesling “R” de Beyer 2002: From parcels in the Gran Cru site Eichberg. Rich and deep, ripe fruit and minerally. Bone dry, almost austere character. Will develop well in the bottle for the next 15 to 20 years.

Riesling Comtes D’Eguisheim 2003: From Gran Cru Pfersigberg holdings but older vineyards (50 years old) than the “Les Ecaillers”. A sweet, almost botrytised character on the nose that reveals all the concentration and the quality of the fruit. An unusual contrast of impressions between the (again) austere, dry attack and superb acidity and the aromatic roundness. Excellent, traditionally produced Riesling. Only three grams of residual sugar.

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