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Chateau Thivin

DSC00118Tasted in Château Thivin with Claude-Edouard Geoffray, 21 April 2016.

Château Thivin
69460 Odénas
Tel: +33 4 74 03 47 53
www.chateau-thivin.com

Beaujolais has many châteaux, some very large-scaled, but this château you could almost miss, as its modest proportions – by the standard of châteaux – lie below the road. The small cellar below the house is from 14th century, “So,” says Claude-Edouard, “this was seemingly a house that was always based in wine, but the château buildings above really date from the 17th century.

It’s true that Château Thivin has long been known for it’s Brouillys, indeed the uncle Claude-Eduard was one who battled to make 2 appellations; Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly, in the 1930s as the original plan was for one giant Brouilly.

Claude-Eduard explains that they essentially vinify in concrete tanks but also some new wooden open-topped tanks too – with a few pigeages – “just to see how it goes.” Côte de Brouilly elevage is in foudres (above). Stainless-steel tanks are used for their assemblies and also some white wine ferments. The tanks are built into the upper floor of the cuverie, and below, the press is on rails and moves from tank to tank for the decuvages – a system that’s been in place since the 70s – I’ve never seen its like before – very impressive and surely easier work!

One cuvée is a blend, Clause-Eduard waits for about 11 months of elevage to decide on what is blended. The assembled wines wait for a month in tank before bottling – about 5% new oak will be used.

The domaine’s grapes are all hand-harvested – usually taking 40 harvesters. “We like to have a balance, so we do about 30-40% destemming, because with full stems you get their taste after about 12 days of cuvaison.” Since 2004 Claude-Eduard explains that they have been allowed to plant vines in cordon, so all new plantings are done like this. “It’s much easier to plough, and we have better aeration so cleaner grapes too. We’ve been raisonnée for at least 15 years, some sites are already bio, but some of the steep slopes in goblet require more time. Whilst I think my generation are really starting to make a positive change in vineyard management, it also makes time.

The wines…

Simply one of the best addresses in the region. There is a vivacity and a crunchiness to the fruit and to the wines that had me picking them out, blind, in the large degustation a few days later. I also like their highly individual labelling!

2015 Rosé
‘We don’t make much, but it has a good market in the USA. It’s not really well know but we like the freshness of fruit.’ Fermented quite cold – 16°C. Packaged in a frosted white glass bottle.
Nicely pale. Fresh and fruity, almost a fresh apple below. Bright, fresh – ultra tasty a-almost a hint of salinity. Lovely freshness, vivacity and a lovely finishing flavour. Simply lovely wine…

2015 Beaujolais Villages Blanc – Cuvée Marguerite
A vein of limestone runs through the vines of Brouilly which isn’t typical, so we prefer to make this white on it. Vinified and elevage in barrel staying there for 7-8 months on fine lees.
A very discreet oak note, plus an equally discreet citrus fruit. Supple, round, a little fat. Just enough freshness and energy. It’s showing the vintage – as it should – but sweet, ripe and tasty wine. Really well finishing – I probably wouldn’t want to take multiple glasses but one is very satisfying.

2014 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 its been like that since the 70s. On a pink granite like Chiroubles and Fleurie.
Fresh, bright red fruit – fresh red cherry – not so dark. Supple, silky, growing width of flavour – layered. Simply an excellent wine. Fresh, bright and red – super-tasty.
2014 Côte de Brouilly Les Sept Vignes
‘Normally more structured and powerful for long aging.’
A deep nose, pure fruit, just a little darker coloured. A freshness of flavour and a super energy – really a wine that’s alive – a growing intensity of flavour. Bravo – this is a super ride… Holding a great finishing flavour too.

2014 Côte de Brouilly La Griottes de Brulhié
Brulhié is the old spelling of Brouilly. Vines at the base of the hill – an early ripening section.
A beautiful freshness of aroma with pure red fruit running through the middle of the wine. A certain sweetness balanced with fine acidity and a lithe, growing intensity of flavour – there’s an attractive warmness to the fruit without any suggestion of losing balance and freshness. Lovely…

2014 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée la Chapelle
Pretty much the highest vines with a steep, close to 40% incline.
Great colour. Beautiful clarity of fresh fruit – gorgeous. Wide, fresh, mouth-watering complexity that just keeps changing and growing. Simply a great wine. The finish bursting with flavour too…
2014 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Godefroy
This has 11 months in barrel before assembling. It’s a blend of parcels. Godefroy is the name of the lieu dit. From very old vines older than 90 years, bought by Claude-Edouard’s grandfather, but it wasn’t him who planted them…
A little deeper colour – a nose that reminds of a blend of the last too – more concentrated yet also tighter. Fresh, layered, beautiful over the tongue. Here is more concentration, a growing intensity of flavour and a greater finish. This is more to wait for whilst drinking the last wine!

2014 Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Zaccharie
It was Zaccharie who bought the domaine in 1877, at that time with less than 4 hectares – Marguerite was his wife.
A similar colour to the last – a deep register of dark fruit. Big in the mouth but like the rest with a super freshness of mouth-watering flavour – for the moment with an accent of vanilla, but that’s just one of many contributors. Large-scaled in the finish and the first wine with a little tannin in the finish. A super wine, but to wait a little time for. Normally the vanilla needs 2-3 years to integrate…

Something opened 1 hour ago…

1989 Côte de Brouilly
No ‘cuvées parcelaire’ at this time.
A fine, faintly orange rimmed wine of maturity. Deep, dark, macerating plum fruit – it could easily be from somewhere further north! A sweetness, but also retaining a good freshness. Sous bois but a clean wine too, a wine of depth and complexity. – a little coffee in the finish. A little smoky tea – a good call – really a great wine to drink today – and really no oxidative aspects. Yum!

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