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2021 Beaujolais Blanc “Clos de Rochebonne”

Château Thivin
Discount Eligible $37.00
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Just south of Odenas, atop a panoramic vista, lies a hectare of Chardonnay vines with wildflowers growing between the rows and Ouessant sheep grazing to keep the weeds at bay. These trademark emblems of Geoffray family viticulture give the parcel away as belonging not to the Château de Rochebonne as the name of the clos—and its location—would imply, but to Château Thivin. A stunning setting is the appropriate birthplace for a wine with an unexpectedly aromatic bouquet and bright, zippy palate—a testament to the natural elegance that embodies all of Château Thivin’s wines.

Emily Spillmann


Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2021
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Chardonnay
Appellation: Beaujolais
Country: France
Region: Beaujolais
Producer: Château Thivin
Winemaker: Claude-Edouard Geoffray
Vineyard: Planted in 2009
Soil: Clay, limestone
Aging: Aged on fine lees in 1-10 year-old barrels for 8 months
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About The Region

Beaujolais

map of Beaujolais

After years of the region’s reputation being co-opted by mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau and the prevalence of industrial farming, the fortunes of vignerons from the Beaujolais have been on the rise in the past couple of decades. Much of this change is due to Jules Chauvet, a prominent Beaujolais producer who Kermit worked with in the 1980s and arguably the father of the natural wine movement, who advocated not using herbicides or pesticides in vineyards, not chaptalizing, fermenting with ambient yeasts, and vinifying without SO2. Chief among Chauvet’s followers was Marcel Lapierre and his three friends, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thévenet—a group of Morgon producers who Kermit dubbed “the Gang of Four.” The espousal of Chauvet’s methods led to a dramatic change in quality of wines from Beaujolais and with that an increased interest and appreciation for the AOC crus, Villages, and regular Beaujolais bottlings.

The crus of Beaujolais are interpreted through the Gamay grape and each illuminate the variety of great terroirs available in the region. Distinguishing itself from the clay and limestone of Burgundy, Beaujolais soils are predominantly decomposed granite, with pockets of blue volcanic rock. The primary vinification method is carbonic maceration, where grapes are not crushed, but instead whole clusters are placed in a tank, thus allowing fermentation to take place inside each grape berry.

Much like the easy-going and friendly nature of many Beaujolais vignerons, the wines too have a lively and easy-drinking spirit. They are versatile at table but make particularly good matches with the local pork sausages and charcuterie. Though often considered a wine that must be drunk young, many of the top crus offer great aging potential.

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Sampling wine out of the barrel.

When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174