Tasted in Château Thivin with Claude Geoffray, 06 February 2019.
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Claude Geoffray on 2018:
“2018 was a year that was very warm and was also very dry – we had lots of grapes – but luckily it was dry in August so we 50-52 hl/ha, it could have been much more if it had rained! A nice harvest with lovely grapes, starting our harvest right at the end of August – and it was a stress-free harvest too,, because we had the time and the people with good weather.”
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.
A great vintage in waiting here at Château T!
2017 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. Bottled May-June, 100% malo in 2017.
A full nose with good width, faintly smoky – oh no, that’s the roaring fire in the room! A nose with a hint of oak – there’s 10% new oak in here, all 228 litre barrels. Round, tasty, delicious chardonnay with a depth of largely oak flavour but supported by some minerality – it’s very persistent indeed – very impressively so!
2017 Beaujolais Villages Blanc Clos de Rochebonne
There’s a little more skin contact here – it’s overnight on the skins before pressing the next day. 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.
Deep and more overtly mineral, almost a hint of floral to this. This has a skin contact overnight before pressing the next day. Ooh, nice lines here – there’s direction and fine freshness. Bubbling with modest energy and fine flavour – perfect balance. A little concentrated citrus skin in the finish with faint zesty bitters – Ooh that’s as good a rendition of this wine as I’ve ever tasted. Excellent!
For the reds, all were bottled around July – the latest in September – ‘I always look to trap the fruit in so doing‘ says Geoffray. Apparently there is a slight evolution of the traditional label – without old and new together you probably wouldn’t notice the difference – plus a new back label that includes the Terravitis label:
2017 Beaujolais Villages Vignes d’Eccusol – Gamay Noir
The AOP of BJV is only mentioned on the back label – and this is a very contemporary – non-standard for Thivin – label. There was a little to test in 2016, this the first real vintage, from vines in Quincié – and (shock!) bottled with a screw-cap – this was Claude’s idea. The vinification was the normal style for the domaine – ‘but looking for a little lighter wine that’s more fruit forward.’
Plenty of colour. A wide nose of dark, slightly cushioned, fruit. Direct, fresh, mineral, lovely drive but also with a growing width. Fresh, intense and delicious wine. Juicy finishing – I’ll have another!
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.
A freshness on this nose but an inviting depth of dark fruit too. Fresh, open delicious, juicy wine – ooh that’s really great – I love the energy here – calm it is definitely not. Vibrant finishing too – long but narrower in the finish. Great Reverdon.
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.’
Less open above but deeper, pure dark fruit below. Ooh here are smooth, sweeping lines, accented with a fine tannin, dark fruit – gorgeous detail. If there’s too much energy in the Brouilly for you then this is the wine that you need. Tension in the finish – sooo good!
2017 Côte de Brouilly Clos Bertrand
From in front of the chateau, was a vineyard for the church in the 1300s. Sheep grazing there again – at the bottom of the slope – today.
A wider nose but it’s also more compact in the depth – a touch of the floral too. Direct, more mineral, less fruit – a wine of direction and juicily melting flavour. Small, actually not so small, mouth-watering waves of wide, finishing flavour. Ooh only at the very end a sensation that there is some tannin – to wait for – but with great anticipation.
2017 Côte de Brouilly La Griottes de Brulhié
Brulhié is the old (1735) spelling of Brouilly. Mid slope parcel, south-facing – an early ripening section.
Ooh – practically saturated colour. ‘Yes it’s not black-black – but there’s plenty!’ Such depth, tighter above and faintly spiced here. In the mouth there is fine freshness but really a palpable ripeness to this fruit – slightly more than accented today by some vanilla oak. More calm and very wide in the finishing flavour. A little over the top for me but with such a freshness that this could surprise in another 3-5 years!
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 – so in the family nearly 100 years – but it wasn’t him who planted them…
Almost as deep a colour as the Griottes. A more composed if smaller nose, fresh and here with some floral accents. More mouth-filling, also very ripe but slightly below the level of Griottes and not showing the oak – supple, intensely flavoured in the finish – ooh – great wine – I love.
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
A narrow but deep nose – floral again and dark fruit that goes incredibly deep. Mouth-filling, fresher again – more ethereal in the mouth, wine of clarity and distinction – less overt concentration – but intensity instead. An open-ended finish of good energy – the greatest of all these in the finale – so far. Bravo again but very different in style once more!
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 – up to 10% new oak. Bottled around the harvest. A ‘new’ neck label which is an homage to that of the 1940s…
A broad nose – concentrated and with some oak today. Wide, intense, sweeping lines again – fresh, fine acidity – the oak is there but less than the Griottes – an extra suppleness in the middle. Textured, concentrated but intense wine that will repay however long you wish to wait to drink it – bravo! The finish has a subtle astringence but no grain. Great wine.
And just for the fun, a window on 2018 – but two wines that are already bottled:
2018 Beaujolais Villages Rosé
A good market for this in the US
Ooh lots of aromatic volume here – a perfumed wine – so inviting. Super texture, good width – open fresh with subtle flavours, indeed delicious flavours. The width is very fine with a subtle salinity to make this all the more moreish!
2018 Brouilly Reverdon
Great colour though not more than the 2017. A nice freshness and width to this aroma – but tighter below – clean and attractive with a faint spice. In the mouth this is truly excellent – mobile, fresh, with energy and searching out every place in your mouth. Darkly fruited and with the energy that makes you want to take another sip – I couldn’t ask for more – excellent! And the finish has an extra depth of flavour that I wasn’t expecting.
And to finish:
2009 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Godefroy
‘It’s a nice vintage, like, maybe, 2017 in the future.’
Still a young colour here, almost touched by purple. Ooh – big, round, very fine complexity, super depth. Hmm – weight mouth-filling volume, much more composed that the 17s today, almost a little roast fruit in the mix here – very wide, a touch of bitters, still, in the finish and very long – almost too much of everything – still today. The last impression remains a faint astringence on my gums. A baby…