When I saw Christian Beyer last November, he handed me a large wheel of very ripe Munster. It was a dark, winter evening and our tasting had run late. Loading our car with wine boxes at his domaine in the heart of Eguisheim, Alsace, he said, simply, “Here, take this.”
When we opened it with a simple dinner of baguettes and saucisson, we understood why he’d passed it along. It was so ripe we reeked of it when we went to bed later, but it was also the perfect accompaniment to the high quality dry wines he’s known for. Christian, the 14th generation winemaker for the venerable Emile Beyer, knew this secret, of course, and wanted us to discover it, too.
Last week, craving an only-slightly-less stinky cheese and a crisp wine for a warm spring evening, I opened the 2018 Emile Beyer Pinot Blanc Tradition.
“Tradition” is the moniker Beyer gives his entry level wines in every varietal, including Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and a Pinot Noir. While most people who appreciate his wines gravitate to their Eguisheim or Grand Cru bottles (when you can find them), the Tradition is just right for an aperitif in the summer.
Modern, high quality wines from Alsace punch above their weight when it comes to quality and price and the Beyer wines are some of the best. My notes on this Pinot Blanc are consistent every year from tastings with the winemaker. I confirmed them again at my kitchen counter. Sweet fruit on the nose like pineapple and fruit cocktail that evolves on the palate to crisp, bone-dry stone. The acid in this wine makes it a perfect pre-dinner appetite builder and can stand up to the stinkiest of cheeses, even an uber-ripe Munster.