2018 Chateau Thivin Cote-de-Brouilly

Year: 2018
Appellation: Beaujolais
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 93
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$25.95

"The 2018 Côte de Brouilly is still a little closed after its recent bottling, but it's a promising wine in the making, unwinding in the glass with scents of cherries, plums, licorice and rich soil tones, complemented by floral top notes that blossom as the wine sits in the glass. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, broad and satiny, with a textural, enveloping profile, a deep and voluminous core, ripe but succulent acids and powdery structuring tannins.

The 2018 vintage has turned out well for the Geoffray family's Château Thivin, a historic estate that continues to rank among the reference points for classical, age-worthy cru Beaujolais. Working toward organic certification, the Geoffrays have banished herbicides and insecticides from their vineyards and number among the appellation's most conscientious farmers. In the cellar, winemaking is traditional, with semi-carbonic maceration and élevage generally in foudre-though some small cuvées see a little new wood. A staple of France's best restaurants-and this writer's table-any readers who are not acquainted with these wines are warmly advised to seek them out." (WA)

"Shimmering purple. Assertive dark berry, cherry, spicecake and floral pastille scents are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and licorice. Sappy and deeply concentrated on the palate, offering mineral-laced bitter cherry and blackberry preserve flavors that stretch out and turn sweeter with aeration. Youthfully gripping tannins add framework to the finish, which lingers with outstanding, mineral-driven tenacity." (VM)

Winery Notes:
It is no surprise that Château Thivin is the benchmark domaine of the Côte de Brouilly; everything about it is exceptional. Built in the fifteenth century on an ancient volcano which juts out steeply into the valley below, Thivin is the oldest estate on Mont Brouilly. Even more important, however, is its tremendous success since farmer Zaccharie Geoffray purchased the château with its two hectares of land at auction in 1877. His son Claude expanded the property over the next few decades, and his son, also named Claude, boosted the prestige of the zone in the face of the Great Depression when he played a pivotal role in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation. With his wife Yvonne, he also helped to bring greater recognition to the entire region with the establishment of the Maison du Beaujolais in 1953. Over the years the family continued to promote the appellation, receiving many influential artists and journalists at the château. The French novelist, Colette, wrote admiringly of her visit to Thivin, for example. In 1979, Richard Olney took Kermit to visit on their first wine trip together. It was Olney’s top recommendation in the whole of the Beaujolais region. The current generation of the Geoffray family continues their tradition. Today their grandnephew Claude, his wife Evelyne, and their son Claude-Edouard continue the tradition as staunch and proud defenders of the terroir of the Côte de Brouilly.

Thivin’s Côte de Brouilly parcels are predominantly south-facing and are planted entirely with Gamay vines that average 50 years of age. The soil is plowed and composted regularly while cover crops are left between some rows to encourage microbiotic activity. Absolutely no insecticides are used. On a slope with a grade of 48% and crumbly surface, implementing these techniques is essential to safeguard the soil from erosion, but it isn’t easy! Each section of the vineyard is harvested and vinified separately to preserve the unique characteristics afforded by variations in exposure and altitude. Even the estate’s vineyards in the Brouilly appellation are planted on a moderately steep hillside of decomposed pink granite, while most of the appellation is planted on the flat valley floor. Traditional whole-cluster fermentation keeps the characteristic fruity qualities of Gamay, after which the grapes are transferred to cuves by gravity without being crushed. Each vintage spends a few months in large oak foudres before bottling. The resulting wines, according to Kermit, resemble “…a country squire who is not afraid to get his boots muddy. Handsome, virile, earthy, and an aristocrat.”