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Gewurztraminer Réserve, Léon Beyer 2009

White Wine from France - Alsace
Fabulously complex, dry style full-flavoured gewurz. Rich and opulent.
is no longer available
Code: AL11421

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Dry
  • Gewurztraminer
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Cork, natural

Alsace

The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.

However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.

In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, ...
The region of Alsace lies in the rain shadow of the Vosge mountains in north-eastern France, divided from Germany by the mighty Rhine River. With the Vosge peaks protecting it from prevailing, rain laden westerlies it is one of the driest and sunniest parts of France outside of the far south and is a wonderful place to grow grapes.

However, the wines of Alsace are sadly still often misunderstood. Their Germanic names, flute-shaped bottles, reminiscent of their Rhine and Mosel counterparts, and diversity of styles have all caused confusion and doubt in the minds of those consumers unfamiliar with them. Furthermore the pursuit of quality through lower yields and later harvests has come with higher levels of sweetness in many wines, though most are dry and eminently suitable for drinking with food.

In contrast to many French regions, Alsace labels are relatively easy to read for many a modern wine drinker, showing as they do the grape variety clearly. There are some multi-grape blends too, and give or take some pinot noir production almost all the wines are white. The hierarchy of appellations is simple to understand too, with AC Vin d’Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru and AC Cremant d’Alsace for sparkling wines being all you need to know.

Vendange Tardive and Sélection des Grains Nobles are two further designations within those classifications for wines made from later-harvested grapes that are higher in sugar and wines made from grapes affected by botrytis (aka noble rot) respectively.

Grand cru wines must be made with grapes from a named vineyard site of that designation harvested at lower yields than those permitted for AC Vin d’Alsace wines. Though they are not all equal in terms of quality and many were granted such status to satisfy local political demands, many of these sites are producing some of the greatest wines of the region. There are about 50 such grand cru sites in Alsace and wines from these sites can only be made from four noble varieties – riesling, muscat, pinot gris and gewurztraminer – though the grand cru vineyards themselves can be planted with any permitted variety.

Curiously, though, it is often the producer name and brand that is considered of higher importance than cru, and some producers do not use the name of a grand cru vineyard on the labels of wines made from those sites. Different producers are known for their house styles and it is often this, and the trusted quality of their ‘brands’, that attracts the savvy drinker.

The grape varieties are varied. Gewurztraminer is a grape that divides people into those who love it and those who hate it. Highly aromatic, with scents of lychee, rose petals and spice (gewürz is the German word for spice), sometimes very dry and sometimes richly sweet, gewurztraminer from Alsace can accommodate many difficult food pairings. They include Thai and other aromatic Asian foods, ginger-infused foods, and washed rind cheeses such as Munster.

Muscat, so often made to be sweet in other regions, is nearly always bone dry in Alsace. Perfumed and grapy, muscat makes an excellent aperitif and partner to asparagus.

Pinot blanc is an excellent everyday wine, not so aromatic, clean and round and often blended with auxerrois with which it share a similarly clean scent and flavour profile.

Pinot gris produces full, rich wines, less spicy than gewurztraminer and capable of long ageing. It can be a superb match for food, particularly roast goose, smoked fish, Oriental dishes and a varied cheeseboard.

Sylvaner is now an endangered species, being superseded by other varieties. It makes lively, refreshing whites with good acidity that in the best examples can age surprisingly gracefully. It is often drunk with food in Alsace restaurants, particularly onion tart, ham, bacon and pork.

Riesling is, for many cognoscenti, the region’s greatest wine. Here it produces dry, fuller-bodied styles with more rounded acidity. Like its lighter, often sweeter German counterparts, it develops great complexity with age, taking on its distinctive petrol aroma.

The red pinot noir grape ripens easily in Alsace and more and more wines are being made, with more substance, colour and aroma than their historical forbears. Some from the best producers are showing the ability to age well.

Please see our How to Buy Alsace Guide in the Wine World & News section of our website for a more detailed feature on the Alsace region.
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Maison Léon Beyer

The picturesque town of Eguisheim has been at the heart of wine production in Alsace for over a thousand years and for over 400 of those years, the Beyer family has been making wine there. Maison Léon Beyer was founded in 1867 and is one of the Grandes Maisons d’Alsace, part négociant but also important land owner.

For many years the driving force behind this house was the late Léon Beyer. Without question he was one of those figures who helped raise the quality of Alsace wines, championing his cause through the world’s greatest restaurants. In charge today is his son Marc, a qualified oenologist and gastronome.

Maison Beyer produces around a million bottles a year from all Alsace’s grape varieties. Bought-in grapes are used to make all the entry level wines and may sometimes be included in the reserve but in general all the better wines come from Beyer’s 20-odd hectares of vineyard which include important holdings in Eguisheim’s two grands crus, Eichberg and Pfersigberg. For some time, Beyer, like Hugel, tended not to market their wines as grand cru, but today that is changing.

The Beyer style is highly individual and readily recognisable. Grapes are picked fully ripe, and fermented at high temperatures often in large oak foudres. The Beyers' epicurean passions have helped mould the style so that the wines are perfect with food. An essential requirement here is that wines are fermented to dryness, even in the case of pinot gris and gewurztraminer. The top wines are marketed ...
The picturesque town of Eguisheim has been at the heart of wine production in Alsace for over a thousand years and for over 400 of those years, the Beyer family has been making wine there. Maison Léon Beyer was founded in 1867 and is one of the Grandes Maisons d’Alsace, part négociant but also important land owner.

For many years the driving force behind this house was the late Léon Beyer. Without question he was one of those figures who helped raise the quality of Alsace wines, championing his cause through the world’s greatest restaurants. In charge today is his son Marc, a qualified oenologist and gastronome.

Maison Beyer produces around a million bottles a year from all Alsace’s grape varieties. Bought-in grapes are used to make all the entry level wines and may sometimes be included in the reserve but in general all the better wines come from Beyer’s 20-odd hectares of vineyard which include important holdings in Eguisheim’s two grands crus, Eichberg and Pfersigberg. For some time, Beyer, like Hugel, tended not to market their wines as grand cru, but today that is changing.

The Beyer style is highly individual and readily recognisable. Grapes are picked fully ripe, and fermented at high temperatures often in large oak foudres. The Beyers' epicurean passions have helped mould the style so that the wines are perfect with food. An essential requirement here is that wines are fermented to dryness, even in the case of pinot gris and gewurztraminer. The top wines are marketed as Comtes d’Eguisheim and are all from grand cru vineyards, always needing many years to come round.

Beyer always have several vintages in stock and are these days one of few houses to be able to provide restaurants with fully mature wine. Best for value is Riesling Cuvée les Ecaillers, which always comes from the Pfersigberg.

Beyer wines are always full-flavoured, full-bodied and concentrated, gaining in complexity with time. When young, they may seem closed but the heavy soils and particularly dry climate tend to highlight a certain generosity and breadth of flavour in the wines.

Riesling is probably their strongest suit but they are capable of making outstanding pinot gris and gewurz as well. Pinot noir, traditionally made and aged in foudres (large oak barrels) can also be exceptional.
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Alsace Vintage 2009

A great vintage of concentrated, vibrant wines that are full of flavour and which display well the quality of the terroirs from which they came. Most were worthy of further time in bottle while retaining drinkability in youth such was the ripeness and purity of the fruit.

There is no single star performer among the white varieties but pinot noir performed wonderfully and had the best vintage for that variety since 2003, which it probably outshone. The key was hot days later in the summer balanced by cool night time temperatures, followed by excellent weather right through to the harvest.

2009 vintage reviews

rogerjonesconsultancy.com

I appreciateChristmas is about relatives and old Aunty Joan turning up with a huge scent ofviolets and lavender which can be reminiscent of an old style Gewürztraminerbut this wine is very clean,...
I appreciateChristmas is about relatives and old Aunty Joan turning up with a huge scent ofviolets and lavender which can be reminiscent of an old style Gewürztraminerbut this wine is very clean, lovely fruit, opulent but still carries a lovelyacidity to leave a fresh mouthfeel. A great wine as a pick me up with a fewcanapés... don’t try this wine with spiced food as it will intensify the flavoursand ruin the delicate floral flavours.
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- Roger Jones

thewinegang.com

Dry, full,ultra-perfumed Gewurz, but with the heady aromatics and richness off-set by apowerful mineral undertow and balancing acidity on the palate. Try it withsmelly, gooey cheeses, slow roast-pork, or...
Dry, full,ultra-perfumed Gewurz, but with the heady aromatics and richness off-set by apowerful mineral undertow and balancing acidity on the palate. Try it withsmelly, gooey cheeses, slow roast-pork, or at The Wine Society's suggestion,Christmas goose.
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89/100 - The Wine Gang

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