Corsica and Provence have been the heart of our rosé focus since we opened in April 2015. While the red wines of Beaujolais have also been a cornerstone, their rosés have never made the cut. That all changed when Kermit Lynch finally asked Château Thivin (our favorite in Côte de Brouilly) for a small amount of their rosé for California last year. The quantities were minuscule, but the response was massive. Sadly, I hadn’t prepared. When the 2016 arrived I was ready to go. One hectare of 50-year-old vines from pink granite on steep slopes of an ancient volcano - This is not your standard rosé. And, at $22 per bottle it's the best kept secret in pink.
Château Thivin’s roots date back to the 15th century. But, it was in 1877 when Zaccharie Geoffrey purchased the 2-hectare estate at auction that Thivin began as we know it today. His grandson, Claude was pivotal in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression. And now his grandnephew, also Claude, his wife Evelyn, and their son Claude-Edouard are behind production of this benchmark Côte de Brouilly. Kermit Lynch visited the domaine during his first trip on the wine route with Richard Olney in 1976.
Pink granite and sand surround the ancient volcano, Mont Brouilly. Here, on some of the steepest slopes in the region Gamay is endowed with purple-toned fruits and wild lavender notes. While their reds are most noted for their plush fruit, personifying the juicy qualities of the region, their rosé is a very different story. In fact, last year I was initially hesitant before tasting, imagining those very bouncy and fruit-forward Gamay traits wouldn’t translate to the crisp and mineral personality I look for in rosé. Even within the context of the very ripe 2015 vintage I was shocked at the great sense of verve in Thivin's rosé. And, no surprise in the more agile 2016 this is at another level.
The rosé of Gamay is sourced from one hectare of 50-year-old vines. Grapes are pressed immediately giving just a slight pink hue. The wine is fermented with native yeasts, goes through full malolactic, and spends its life only in steel prior to bottling. In the end, it's a snappy and lively rosé that finishes with a salty punctuation that makes it irresistible.
Thivin’s 2016 stole the show at our annual rosé tasting. Like myself, attendees were shocked that this dark horse was neck and neck with the more revered rosé estates like Tempier, Abbatucci, Clos Canarelli, and Marquiliani. At $22 per bottle and allocated from only a single hectare this was one rosé that I couldn't let get away when it landed in California for just the second time ever.
2016 Château Thivin Beaujolais-Villages Rosé
$22 per bottle.
2016 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly
$25 per bottle.
2015 Thivin Cote de Brouilly 1.5L
$59 per bottle.
2005 Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cuvée de la Chapelle
$69 per bottle.