2021 Château Thivin, Côte de Brouilly, Cru Beaujolais, France.
Thivin’s latest Côte de Brouilly from the 2021 vintage is youthfully wound up still and almost comes across with a Chinon like character with a spicy and austere personality, far removed from the bubble gum and cotton candy flavors you would find in some Gamay offerings and is not as lush as the 2020 was with an array of taut red fruits, green and brown spices, vibrant acidity and rustic tannin. Things change as it opens in the glass, as this 2021 garnet and ruby hued Côte de Brouilly from mature vines moves from hyper intensity to a more textural wine with hints of stems, wild flowers, subtle wood and lingering strawberry coming through. With food, it especially does better in letting you in and seeing a core of plum, raspberry, tart currant and black cherry fruit, so best to have this Thivin with a hearty meal to enjoy its full range on its medium bodied palate. This is definitely one of my go to wineries in Kermit Lynch’s awesome Cru Beaujolais portfolio and I am never disappointed when popping a bottle of Château Thivin, wonderfully and authentically made by the Geoffray family, who’ve had their Brouilly area holdings since around 1877. The Geoffray’s were instrumental in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation itself and continue to enhance the region’s reputation with every vintage they release.
The vines at Château Thivin’s Côte de Brouilly parcels are set on a combination of blue volcanic rock comprised of plagioclase and biotite, which is unique and a complex series of soils with predominantly south-facing slopes that are planted entirely to organically grown Gamay with the vines averaging close to 50 years of age. This bottling, from steep almost 48% grades, gets a short maceration and fermentation in vat, usually whole bunches, lasting just under two weeks before maturing in large neutral French oak foudres for six months before bottling. Even though this wine is meant to be enjoyed in its youth and fresh, it does have grip, density and an underlying energy that allows it to age well, even more than the recommended 3 to 8 years in bottle and I have been very happy with old bottles I discovered even over 10 years old, but patience isn’t required here. As Kermit Lynch notes, the Geoffray name continues to inspire, with today’s vigneron Claude, his wife Evelyne, and their son Claude-Edouard upholding their tradition as staunch and proud defenders of the terroir of the Côte de Brouilly and produce one of its top wines, they also do a rare Gamay Beaujolais Rosé and a delightful 100% Chardonnay Beaujolais Blanc, plus I recommend their cement raised Brouilly “Reverdon” that has a Fleurie like delicacy and pretty florals too.
($36 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive