Chateau Thivin Brouilly Reverdon 2017
Sourced from the Reverdon sector of Mont Brouilly, an area known for producing wines of great finesse.
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What a Beaujolais beauty! Ripe and vibrant with a ravishing, silky texture on the palate, where the interplay of delicate cherries, mineral acidity and gentle tannins is spot on. What a long and refined finish! Drink or hold.
The boisterous 2017 Brouilly Reverdon is showing well, bursting with scents of blackberries, raspberries and licorice, followed by a medium to full-bodied, fleshy palate that's generous and fruit-driven, with succulent underlying acids and youthfully chewy tannins.
Vivid ruby. Ripe dark berries and candied flowers on the perfumed nose. Pliant black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show a hint of licorice, and a candied violet nuance adds a sweet touch. The floral note carries steadily through the finish, which is shaped by youthful tannins and sharpened by a building mineral flourish.
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.
The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.
Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.
Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.
Delightfully playful, but also capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-packed wines. From Beaujolais, Gamay generally has three classes: Beaujolais Nouveau, a decidedly young, fruit-driven wine, Beaujolais Villages and Cru Beaujolais. The Villages and Crus are highly ranked grape growing communes whose wines are capable of improving with age whereas Nouveau, released two months after harvest, is intended for immediate consumption. Somm Secret—The ten different Crus have their own distinct personalities—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant and Morgon is structured and age-worthy.