2018 Chateau Thivin, Cote de Brouilly, Cru Beaujolais, France.
The Famille Geoffray’s famous old school Chateau Thivin is one of my favorite go to reds, its pure Gamay flavors and terroir driven structure make it a pleasurable, but serious wine and it is always a great value, especially in vintages like this 2018 which shows beautiful floral notes, texture and silky layers of dark fruits. Claude Geffray, now in charge, along with his son Claude-Edouard, at his family’s estate which was founded back in 1877 making it the oldest winery on Mont Brouilly, it continues to be a star of tradition in the region making honest wines that show Gamay in its most raw and pure form. Kermit Lynch, Thivin’s importer, discovered these wines and brought them to America, where almost no one had even heard of Gamay and mostly wanted Cabernet Sauvignon and made this and many other Cru Beaujolais very unlikely success stories, now Chateau Thivin has a special place in our wine drinking hearts and we relish the chance to pop corks on wines like this, which in some years rival Burgundies! Thivin’s Côte de Brouilly parcels are predominantly south-facing and are planted entirely with Gamay vines that average 50 years of age. The vineyards are surprisingly steep here, according to Kermit Lynch, the Geoffray’s work their parcels with organic methods, the soil is plowed and composted regularly while cover crops are left between some rows to encourage micro-biotic activity and absolutely no insecticides or pesticides are used. All this hand tending is done, as Lynch notes on a slope with a grade of 48% and a slippery crumbly surface of Cote de Brouilly’s unique blue volcanic rock comprised of plagioclase and biotite along with the classic granite.
The brilliantly dark garnet and ruby 2018 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly is beautifully detailed with pretty violets, juicy plum, black cherry, strawberry and fresh vine picked wild berry fruits along with a delicate earthiness, mineral tones and an array of spice, herb and walnut in a supple medium bodied wine that highlights the vintage’s best qualities and charms. The winegrowing and winemaking is classic and natural at Chateau Thivin with all of the main plots being done in small separate vinifications with each lots getting special focus and hand crafted attention with 100% whole-cluster fermentation and gentle gravity flow of the must and wine throughout the process to showcase delicacy and individual nuances in the finished bottlings. The Geoffray’s use temperature controlled stainless cuves for primary fermentations, which last about two weeks and are semi to full carbonic and the wine is raised in large old oak foudres for just about six months to mature, but put into bottle with loads of vibrancy and youthful grip. This Cote de Brouilly is always a bit more muscular in style, more like Morgon’s Cote de Py in character, though still elegant and smooth in the mouth, it is that combination that makes this Thivin stand out and allows it to age beautifully with an exciting and lengthy window of fabulous drinking and it is always sublime with rustic cuisine, elevating even the simplest of meals. Thivin also does one of the most delectable Rosés in the region, and though very hard to get, Kermit Lynch usually has some and it is well worth searching out, plus their Bouilly Cru, which comes from plots on pink granite like Fleurie, is also lovely stuff, keep an eye for this producer, well known for being a savvy choice by Beaujolais junkies!
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive