Thivin's Côte de Brouilly has been a staple in our Cru Beaujolais category since day one. The value at $32 per bottle is always refreshing, as top producers in the region continue to climb. These 50-year-old vines are situated on blue volcanic soil and an unusually steep 48% grade slope. There's a blue-fruited quality to the Gamay that leads one to believe terroir can impart an undeniable sense of place.
Château Thivin’s roots date back to the 15th century, though it was in 1877 when Zaccharie Geoffrey purchased the two-hectare estate at auction that it began as we know it today. Geoffrey's grandson, Claude, was pivotal in creating the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression, and the family has continued the 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.
While Beaujolais red wines have always been a cornerstone, the region's more limited-production rosés never quite made the cut. That all changed when Kermit Lynch asked Château Thivin (our favorite producer in Côte de Brouilly) for a small amount of their rosé for California. From a single hectare of vines planted on pink granite atop the steep slopes of an ancient volcano—this is not your standard rosé.
Pink granite and sand surround the ancient Mont Brouilly volcano, and here, on some of the steepest slopes in the region, Gamay is endowed with purple-toned fruits and wild lavender notes. I was hesitant before tasting, imagining those very bouncy and fruit-forward Gamay traits wouldn’t translate to the crisp and mineral personality I look, but Thivin's rosé has a great sense of salinity and freshness.
This rosé of Gamay is sourced from one hectare of 50-year-old vines. Grapes are pressed immediately giving just a slightly pink hue. The wine is fermented with native yeasts, goes through full malolactic, and spends its life in stainless steel prior to bottling. As a result, it's a snappy and lively rosé that finishes with salty punctuation.
This two-hectare was purchased at auction by Zaccharie Geoffrey in 1877. His grandson, Claude, was pivotal in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression. Now, his grandnephew, also Claude, his wife Evelyn, and their son Claude-Edouard are behind the production of this benchmark. Kermit Lynch visited the domaine during his first trip on the wine route with Richard Olney in 1976.
Pierre Cotton is a name in Beaujolais that deserves a close look from Cru Beaujolais purists and the ultra natural-focused crowd alike. The Wine Advocate's William Kelley once dubbed Cotton's wines as "carnal," an apt descriptor for these unique wines that have pushed the limits of how raw Gamay can be.
Pierre and Marine jumped at the chance to acquire La Chapelle, a small parcel at the very top of the Côte de Brouilly; this is the highest elevation vineyard in the appellation, located just before the small chapel at the top of the hill in Odenas. It is a supremely elegant Gamay with the same unique blue diorite terroir found in Les Grilles but at a higher altitude.
The wines are raw and feral yet exhibit the same satin texture and layered complexity you're likely to find in a bottle of Foillard or Lapierre. Alongside Yann Bertrand and Alex Foillard, Pierre Cotton is leading the new generation of Cru Beaujolais vignerons.