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Thivin Cote de Brouilly La Chapelle 2014

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Grape variety: Gamay noir à jus blanc, from various strains of Gamay.

Location: This plot is located at the top of Mont Brouilly, on an arid soil composed of blue metamorphic rock, with southerly exposure and slopes of up to 50%.

Growing method: The vineyard is planted to a density of 8,000 vines/hectare with managed strips of grass and flowers to encourage a diverse fauna and flora. Trained in the traditional “gobelet” (goblet) pattern, fastened with wicker or rattan.

Wine-making: Hand-picked, vinified for 14–15 days with bunches whole or partly de-stemmed, aged in oak casks until the June following the harvest.

Tasting notes: Deep red, bluish reflections, wild strawberry and bilberry nose, frank attack, fruity fullness and final note of spices.

With food: Wonderful with regional dishes such as Volaille de Bresse à la crème (chicken in a cream and white wine sauce) and local specialities from Lyons.

- Winery Note

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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 1976, 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.”

- Kermit Lynch

Additional Information

Volume (ml)750ml
Winemaking PracticesMinimal Intervention
Vineyard PracticesOrganic/Biodynamic
Product typeWine Red Gamay/Beaujolais

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