Château Thivin is located in the Côte de Brouilly, an ancient volcanic mound which juts unexpectedly from the Beaujeu Valley floor, about 30 miles north of Lyon. In the heart of Côte de Brouilly, on the south-facing, crumbling granitic slopes, Claude Geoffray at Château Thivin works twenty acres of vines. The vineyards are planted entirely to Gamay noir à 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 Château 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 cuvées. 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 lands of Château Thivin date back to the late 14th century when part of the existing structures were built, in 1383. The current proprietor, Claude Geoffray, is the sixth generation of the family to run the property. Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly was a favorite of Colette, and still today has a special place in the affection of the artistic community of France. It is a fixture on many of the great wine lists of France. The owners are looked upon as the elite of the appellation, and the wine has an enthusiastic international following.