Côte-de-Brouilly is one of the oldest vine-growing sites of the Beaujolais region—viticulture is thought to have taken off in the eleventh century, and today all flanks of this ancient volcano are covered with vines. In addition to its slope and range of sun exposures, the Côte is remarkable for its soils: whereas most cru Beaujolais is grown on decomposed granite, the volcanism here produced bluish stones more similar to schist, giving wines with a notable mineral crunch and gunflint-like aroma. Having taken over the family domaine in 1988, Nicole Chanrion works seven hectares of Gamay on the northern face of the mount. Her impressive career, during which she served as president of the Côte-de-Brouilly AOC, has even earned her the nickname La Pâtronne de la Côte. The title “Boss of the Côte” is well merited, as this 2016 attests: pure, driven, stony, and incredibly delicious, her wines are not to be taken lightly.
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When Nicole Chanrion began her career in the 1970s, convention relegated women to the enology labs and kept them out of the cellars--even her mother thought winemaking was man's work--but she would not be deterred from her dream of becoming a vigneronne. With six generations of family tradition preceding her, she grew up helping her father in both the vineyards and the cellar in the Côte-de-Brouilly, one of the southernmost crus of the northern Beaujolais. Though she is mild-mannered and slight of build, her determination and conviction have consistently defied all doubts. Ever since taking over the family domaine in 1988, she works all 6.5 hectares entirely by herself, from pruning the vineyards and driving the tractors to winemaking and bottling, all without bravado or fanfare. In 2000 she became president of the Côte-de-Brouilly appellation, a position of respect and importance among peers. It's small wonder then that she is affectionately referred to as "La Patronne de la Côte," or the Boss of la Côte.