Tasted in Château Thivin with Claude Geoffray, 07 February 2018.
Tel: +33 4 74 03 47 53
Last year, on the 20 February, I had the opportunity to walk in the vines with Claude Geoffray – in sunlight and not too cool temperatures – today my objective was to get indoors as quickly as possible due to 0°C, snow-flakes and a bone-chilling cold wind!
Claude on 2017:
I’m happy to say that there was no frost or hail and plenty of grapes. But the dryness of the summer meant that we had a yield of about 37 hl/ha. We started harvesting about the 28 August in very agreeable conditions – not too warm. Beautiful grapes that required very little in the manner of triage – the vinifications also went well.
Claude on 2016:
“This was really a very wet spring, and there was a few hailstones too, but really we were lucky as there was very little here. There were lots of maladies, almost everything you can find in the books we had! But the late summer and finish to the growing year were fine. We have good colours, a little less texture than the 2015 but they are very honourable wines. The yields were really quite okay – a little more production than in 2017, though with slightly lower degrees – we normally aim for about 45 hectolitres per hectare.”
Not all these are available in all markets, some are only available in France or in restaurants for example. Lyon is one of the domaine’s largest markets. About 55% of the production is exported.
Last year I stated that 2015 was ‘simply a first class set wines – bravo!’ I echo that with my notes on the 2016s!
2016 Beaujolais Villages Blanc – Cuvée Marguerite
A vein of white limestone, the same as in Mâconnais runs through the vines of Brouilly which isn’t typical – the vines are in Brouilly but the AOC doesn’t exist for Brouilly blanc so it is Beaujolais Villages. Vinified and elevage in barrel, staying there for 7-8 months on fine lees with some batonnage.
Deep but round aromas with interesting flashes of complexity. Round in the mouth, some rigour of structure but also plenty of mouth-filling complexity too – particularly tasty and wide in the finish.
2016 Beaujolais Villages Blanc Clos de Rochebonne
There’s a little more skin contact here. 460m altitude, as much as 15 days later harvested as the reds here – a real Clos, with a locked door! The limestone is pierre dorée here. Same 10% new oak, bottled in May/June.
More aromatic depth, though also the oak is more overt. Wider, more complex, just a little less rigour but also more complexity – including oak. Wait a little while for this but it’s a fine wine and even more persistent finishing – with a hint of tannin!
For the reds, all were bottled around July – the latest in September – ‘I always look to trap the fruit in so doing‘ says Geoffray:
2016 Brouilly Reverdon
Granitic, looking to the east and the hill of Brouilly. Different label to the classic (for the Brouilly and the BV blanc) but it’s been like that since the 70s. On a pink granite like Chiroubles and Fleurie.
Relatively deep colour. Deep, complex – directly attractive red berry fruited wine. Sweetness, lithe muscle, a fine directness with supple texture – really mouth-watering intensity – the flavour becoming wider and wider – holding beautifully. Young – but oh-so good!
2016 Côte de Brouilly Les Sept Vignes
Here the famous blue stone soil. An assembly of their seven parcels – hence the name. ‘Normally more structured and powerful for long aging.’
Slightly less aromatic width but certainly more depth of slightly-darker fruited aroma. Finer, both in terms of shape and texture – freshness coupled with mouth-watering deliciousness – ooh this is sooo good!
2016 Côte de Brouilly Clos Bertrand
From in front of the chateau, was a vineyard for the church in the 1300s. Sheep grazing there again today.
A touch of reduction on this nose. Also in the flavours on the palate – but there is a more mouth-filling shape here, a hint more structure – a similar mouth-watering mid and finishing style. Hard to fully evaluate, given the reduction.
2016 Côte de Brouilly La Griottes de Brulhié
Brulhié is the old (1735) spelling of Brouilly. Mid slope parcel, south-facing – an early ripening section.
After that last wine, here is a panorama of aroma – slightly cushioned. Extra freshness and lots of mouth-filling volume – elegant but incisive flavour complexity. A sweetness of flavour and impressive length of finishing flavour too – such impressive length.
It’s a blend of parcels. Godefroy is the name of the lieu dit. From very old vines – the oldest are 97-years-old – bought by Claude-Edouard’s grandfather, but it wasn’t him who planted them…
Deep, faintly floral, also a faint barrel note. Mouth-filling, such an impressive combination of freshness and weight – some oak accents here too – really layered finishing flavour – super complex. Wait three years – at least – but there’s great wine in the making here. Bravo!
Plain south-facing, the highest vines with a steep, close to 40% incline – more clay on the more fertile soil, and really needs a caterpillar tractor to be safe
Deep colour. Fresh – an impressive width of darker fruit. Fresh in attack too, layered again below, a hint of extra saline complexity. Growing complex intensity – complex, complex – also to wait for, and with no overt oak this time. Bravo!
It was Zaccharie who bought the domaine in 1877, at that time with less than 4 hectares – Marguerite was his wife. All barrel aged – smaller barrels – for about 9-10 months.
Also deep, deep colour. Really an impressive volume of super-inviting aroma – complex too, here including plenty of oak. There is much oak on the palate too – but also such a volume of fresh flavour – to wait the longest for if you prefer to avoid these barrel notes. Super complex in the middle even some floral impressions in here. The texture from the tannin holds a little – really another great wine for the patient – honestly if had enough of these, I’d certainly be waiting more in the direction of 10 than 5 years!
And just for the fun, a window on 2017:
2017 Côte de Brouilly Clos Bertrand
Really lots of colour – practically saturated. The nose has some freshness but is also quite compact. A little gas, plenty of width and freshness. Impressive weight of finishing flavour.
2017 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée la Chapelle
Also relatively compact but with more depth. Really too much gas for today, a hint of reduction too. But the middle and finish have lots of fresh and delicious complexity – I look forward to next year.
2017 Beaujolais Villages Blanc Clos de Rochebonne
A quick blend from 5 different barrels.
Ooh – this is big, impressive and VERY inviting. Just a hint of gas – but with width – and fine structural elements. Some freshness. Mineral. This is very impressive. Great potential.!