“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.” Kermit Lynch, US importer and wine commentator.
This Gamay is from the oldest (and the best) producer in Cote de Brouilly, one of the famous crus (small mountain villages) in Beaujolais, the stunning area of vineyard land that stretches from just north of Lyon to just south of the (famously expensive) vineyards of Burgundy. Like most bad fashions of the 1980's, Beaujolais’ hard earned reputation of light, limp and sweet fruited wines is well and truly gone. This is due to the unearthing of traditional and natural micro-producers such as Chateau Thivin; and now quality Cru Beaujolais has become one of the most sought-after wines in restaurants in most cutting-edge dining cities across the world. The complexity, purity, intrigue and age ability these wines give at such reasonable prices have had drinkers turning here in place of Burgundy and Northern Rhone.
Chateau Thivin was established in the fifteenth century and is now owned and run by the Geoffray family, since Zaccharie Geoffray purchased the château with its two hectares of land at auction in 1877. It is multi-generational, and every generation of the Geoffray family has promoted and expressed the unique quality of the Brouilly appellation over the decades since. They have always farmed sustainably with plowing, composts and mid row cover crops aimed to enhance healthy microbiotic activity in the soils. The French refer to this farming as Lutte Raisonee. On top of this, they are currently in conversion to certified organic status.
Their vineyards are planted on the steep slopes of Mont Brouilly, with an average age of 50 years. The soils are blue stone and a distinct pink granite. If you are interested in learning more about these soils and the farming practives, the Chateau Thivin website has some incredible content. The fruit for this wine is handpicked, naturally fermented (no additions) and aged in old French oak foudres (see below) for seven months. The objective is to harness the fruit and earth characters and not overpower with oak. The wine will still age incredibly well, for up to ten years.
It is a medium bodied wine, pushing full, but not in the sense of a South Australian red. It is more about restrained power, dark cherry fruit, herbs and earth driven characters. Hints of stone and granite-like aromas blend in with the dark cherry, plums and fresh herbs. It is a pleasure to drink and shows its honesty with a rich, powerful core, wrapped up with a long, silky, powdery like texture.
It is a great introduction in to the world of Cru Beaujolais and will give satisfaction to both the Pinot Noir and Shiraz drinkers out there.
Serve this with tender sweet meats like roast eye-fillet, duck breast or sweet pork sausages.
As always if there are any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
Tom and Dan.