Domaine Emile Beyer Biodynamic Wines from Alsace

Valérie Beyer from Domaine Emile Beyer
Valérie Beyer from Domaine Emile Beyer

I had a wonderful time speaking with Valérie Beyer about their Alsatian wines recently.  I interviewed Valérie two years ago together with her husband, Christian, about their wines.  I was curious to taste the 2020 vintage wines and compare them to their 2019 wines.  Valérie mentioned that 2020 was a hotter vintage than 2019. She mentioned that the 2020 vintage wines would be open more now, while 2019 would have higher acidity and take a bit longer to open.

Domaine Emile Beyer uses organic and biodynamic methods.  They started on the route of being organic in 2005 and were certified by ECOCERT in 2014.  They began the process of becoming biodynamic in 2016 and were DEMETER certified in 2019.  The grapes are handpicked and the wines undergo natural yeast fermentation. They ferment the white wines in stainless steel tanks taking a slow long process. Their red wines are fermented and aged in Burgundian barrels in French oak from the forests of Allier or Vosges. The four wines below remained on their lees for 18 months and also underwent malolactic fermentation.

My Wine Tasting Notes

Domaine Emile Beyer wines from Alsace
Domaine Emile Beyer wines from Alsace

Domaine Emile Beyer Alsace Grand Cru Pfersigberg Riesling 2020 – The vineyard here is in a very warm, Mediterranean microclimate.  A small specific region within the larger Grand Cru Pfersigberg area. This wine is medium-plus gold in colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of cut apples, dried apples, and stone fruits.  Dry, medium-body, with a lean mouthfeel.  Tart and dried stone fruits, plus cut and roasted apple flavours.  Medium length.  Honey and puckering tart fruit finish. Valérie mentioned that even though this was a hotter vintage, you still get higher acidity by the vines finding their natural balance in the soil due to their biodynamic farming methods and prudent pruning so the vines do not get too stressed.  4.5 stars

Domaine Emile Beyer Alsace Grand Cru Eichberg Riesling 2020 – A medium-plus golden colour.  Medium-intensity aromas of apples, dried stone fruits, pears and a touch of toast. Deep aromas. Medium body, soft with a roundish mouthfeel.  Pears and dried stone fruits on the palate with citrus and pith toward the finish.  Medium-plus acidity. 4.5 stars

Domaine Emile Beyer Alsace, Horaine, Pinot Gris 2020 – Hohrain is a lieu-dit.  According to Wikipedia, lieu-dit is a “French toponymic term for a small geographical area bearing a traditional name. The name usually refers to some characteristic of the place, its former use, a past event, etc.”  The vines are more than 45 years old. This wine has a medium golden colour with some bubbles in the glass, likely caused by the light filtering during bottling leaving some carbon dioxide in the wine.  A medium-minus aroma of pears.  Dry, round and smooth mouthfeel.  Pears, pear skin, and roasted apples on the palate.  Some minerality as well.  Medium length with a tart finish. 4 stars4.5 stars

Domaine Emile Beyer Alsace, Sundel, Pinot Noir 2020 – Sundel means “little sun”, which is similar to Cote Rotie in the Rhone Valley.  A warmer location.  The grapes were planted in 2005 via massal selection of Pommard vines.  The grapes were 100% whole bunch fermented which reduces the level of alcohol and retains more freshness in the wine (as this is a hot vintage). This wine has a deeper garnet colour.  Medium-plus intensity aromas of cedar, cinnamon, red fruits, and touches of red cherries and sweet spices.  Dry, medium body, smooth with a lean mouthfeel.  Light tannins and medium acidity.  Tart red berry fruit with nutmeg and a touch of black pepper flavours on the finish. 4 stars4.5 stars

My Wine Tasting Notes from the 2019 Vintage

If you are interested in comparing the 2020 with the 2019 vintage.

Riesling AOC Alsace Grand Cru Pfersigberg, Vintage 2019 (biodynamic) – They call the vineyard in this Grand Cru region Peach Tree. The vineyard is on a hillside facing south.  The soil is limestone and thin due to the steep slope, so the vines hit the bedrock. The wine spent a year on its lees. This wine has a medium lemon colour.  Honeyed stone fruits and brioche on the nose.  Dry with a medium-plus body.  Dried stone fruits, honey, mineral, and a herbal expression, maybe rosemary. They say that this wine gets that herbal character due to the warmer climate influence.  The location of their vineyard gives them a Mediterranean climate which they say promotes the herbal character.  A unique terroir. 4.5 stars

Riesling AOC Alsace Grand Cru Eichberg, Vintage 2019 (biodynamic) – Eichberg they said represents an oak tree, a symbol of its verticality, richness, and strength.  The wines from this Grand Cru vineyard also produce powerful wines with great cellaring opportunity.  The soil is a mix of marl and sandstone which act like a sponge to retain water that helps in hot stretches in the summer.  The vines are 40+ years in age and can grow deep in this type of soil.  The wine has a medium lemon colour.  A light intensity but deep lemon, floral and stone fruit aromas.  Dry, medium-plus body with medium-plus acidity and a thicker mouthfeel.  Flavours of baked and bruised apples, citrus, and a touch of floral.  Deep flavours. 4.5 stars

Pinot Gris, AOC Alsace, Hohrain, Vintage 2019 (biodynamic) – Hohrain is a single vineyard for their Pinot Gris grapes.  The soil is limestone and interestingly the vineyard is on a north-facing slope. Christian’s father planted these grapes and picked the north face as he believed that Pinot Gris requires a cooler climate and that the south-facing slopes in the Alsace region were too warm. Christian over time agrees with his father’s decision.  This wine has a light pear skin colour.  A very light stone fruit nose plus honey and stoniness.   Medium body, soft and round.  Fresh stone fruit flavours, apricots in particular, along with some honey and a touch of pepperiness.  Christian said that this wine needs some time to decant in your glass in order to fully enjoy its aromas and flavours. 4 stars4.5 stars

Pinot Noir, AOC Alsace, Sundel, Vintage 2019 (biodynamic) – A single-vineyard wine using the Pommard clone.  Sundel means little sun. This vineyard is 15 years old.  30% of the grapes are whole cluster fermented and the wine spends 18 months in French oak barrels. This wine is medium garnet in colour.  Pronounced aromas of sour and red cherries, red fruits and sweet spices.  It is dry, medium-plus body and has a semi-round mouthfeel.  Floral, red fruits, sour cherries and raspberry flavours.  Medium intensity fine-grained tannins.  Very young and still should age before enjoying at home.  This was a barrel sample and should mellow and integrate over time. They said that their 2015 Pinot Noir is drinking very well right now. 4.5 stars

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

Four of Domaine Emile Beyer’s wines are available in select SAQ liquor stores in Quebec.  Other agents across Canada are invited to contact them for distribution in their province or territory.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.