Ch. Thivin Cote de Brouilly 2006
Gamay from Beaujolais, France
"The Chateau Thivin 2006 Cote de Brouilly leads with fascinating and intense aromas of smoky, toasted nuts and salted tomato puree. Bright salinity and the unusual suggestion of tomato paste persist on the surprisingly concentrated palate, along with suggestions of smoked meat, juniper berry, and tart black fruit skins. The finish is bright and savory, with a surprising hint of tongue-numbing tannin. While less generous with the sort of overtly ripe berry character than one generally expects of Beaujolais, this Cote de Brouilly holds an undeniable fascination of its own and should be interesting to work with in the kitchen and to follow for another year or two in bottle. The estate's track record is consistently excellent."
International Wine Cellar - "Youthful purple. Fresh red berry and cherry pit aromas are complicated by tangy minerals and a subtle herbacity. Firm and juicy on the palate, offering tangy dark berry and cherry flavors and a touch of bitter chocolate. A linear, brisk, classic Beaujolais that would be good with a light chill."
Ch. Thivin Winery
Wine lovers who experience is limited to Noveau owe it to themselves to try the other side of Beaujolais, the hillside Beaujolais, where the soils are more granite and the terrain more rugged. The name Beaujolais may not be present of the label; instead one will find the village name, such as Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Morgan or Fleurie.
Chateau Thivin is located in the Cote de Brouilly, an ancient volcanic mound which juts unexpectedly from the Beaujeu Valley floor, about 30 miles north of Lyon.
In the heart of Cote de Brouilly, on the south-facing, crumbling granite slopes, Claude Geoffray at Chateau Thivin works twenty acres of vines. The vineyards are planted entirely to Gamay Noir a jus blanc, a variety of Gamay that is cultivated to stand free of wires and stakes, sturdily attached to the hillside by deep-seeking roots.
At Chateau Thivin, each section of the vineyard is harvested and fermented separately, to preserve the characteristic differences afforded by variations in exposure and altitude. The final wine is a selected blend of these cuvees. Traditional whole cluster fermentation is used in order to keep the characteristic fruity qualities of Gamay, after which the grapes are put into cuve by gravity without being crushed or destemmed. Each vintage spends a few months in large oak foudres before bottling. View all Ch. Thivin Wines
About BeaujolaisView a map of Beaujolais wineries (boe-show-lay)
Upon hearing Beaujolais, many think of the large celebration for wine that comes out the 3rd week of November, that year's vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau. But the region of Beaujolais, situated at the bottom of the Burgundy AC, is more than just the nouveau. Some Beaujolais wines can be kept (gasp!) for up to 10 years! Those are usually the Cru Beaujolais and are much lower in production than the drink-it-now.
Even though Beaujolais is technically part of Burgundy, its climate, soil, grape varieties and winemaking methods make it completely separate in character. The primary grape of Beaujolais is Gamay, a very thin-skinned, light bodied grape that does particularly well in Beaujolais. It also does particularly well with the method of winemaking in Beaujolais – Carbonic Maceration. Carbonic maceration is anaerobic fermentation – meaning the fermentation takes place INSIDE the berry. How does this happen? Whole grape clusters are carefully put into a tank, given carbon dioxide and sealed to prevent contact with oxygen. Then a chemical process occurs inside the grape, turning sugars in to ethanol, aka alcohol. The process allows the fermenting juice to extract the color of the skins and the fruitiness of the grape without the harsh tannins of the skins. Not all Beaujolais use this method, but almost every Beaujolais Nouveau does. The result is a very fruity wine with fresh berry favors and super-light tannins and body.
The ACs of Beaujolais
Over half of the production of Beaujolais is under the Beaujolais AC. The second level is Beaujolais-Village, and the final is Beaujolais Crus, of which there are ten. Beaujolais Villages AC is a bit better quality than the first level, and the ten Crus are even higher quality. Most Cru Beaujolais AC wines use regular fermentation rather than carbonic, and some even let their wines age a bit in oak. In fact, after a few years in oak and bottle, a good vintage of Beaujolais can be mistaken for a Burgundy! But this is the exception to the rule - the majority of Beaujolais should be drunk within the first 2 years. In a good vintage a few of the cru wines may hold up for more, but Beaujolais is known for being fruity, light and easy drinking for right now. Serve a bit cool and enjoy without thought.
The 10 Cru Beaujolais to look for: Morgon, St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Brouilly, Côte-du-Brouilly, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Regnié.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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