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2013 Côte de Brouilly, Les Sept Vignes, Château Thivin
Scores and Reviews
Château Thivin of the Côte de Brouilly appellation in Beaujolais has been in the hands of the Geoffray family since 1877.
Today Claude and Evelyne Geoffray produce several different cuvees depending on the orientation of each parcel as the Côte de Brouilly hill has vines on all of its four sides.
The regular wine blend is known as Sept Vignes (as there are seven different locations for their various plots), while they are increasingly introducing single vineyard cuvees.
A French variety planted predominately in Beaujolais where it is the grape behind everything from light and often acidic Beaujolais Nouveau through to the more serious and well-structured wines from the 10 cru villages. It takes its name from a hamlet just outside Chassagne-Montrachet and was at one stage widely planted on the Côte d`Or. However it was gradually phased out due to its poor yield and supposed poor quality of its wines.
The majority of Gamay wines in Beaujolais are labelled as Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages and are deliciously juicy, easy drinking, gulpable wines. Of more interest are the Cru wines from the 10 villages in the north of the region where the soil is predominantly granitic schist and where the vines are planted on gently undulating slopes. These can be well-structured, intensely perfumed wines, redolent of ripe black fruits and, while delicious young, will reward medium term cellaring.
Gamay is also grown in the Touraine region of the Loire where it produces soft, well-balanced, gluggable wines for drinking young.
Brouilly is the largest and most southerly of the ten Beaujolais Crus as well as also being one of the few not to be named after a local village. Its 1200ha of vineyards curl round the volcanic Mont Brouilly, producing fruity, round, textured wines which can be reasonably tannic and often show earthy notes.
Most should be drunk in 3-4 years but the most age-worthy styles from top producers in top vintages can last up to a decade. It is also the only Cru, along with its sister appellation Côte de Brouilly, to allow grapes other than Gamay to be planted – in this case Chardonnay, Aligoté and Melon de Bourgogne – although few choose to take advantage.
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