October 2017—Our 45th Anniversary!
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.
|Vineyard:||50 years, 3.5 ha|
|Aging:||Ages for at least nine months before an unfiltered bottling|
When Nicole Chanrion began her career in the 1970s, convention relegated women to the enology labs and kept them out of the cellars. But with six generations of family tradition preceding her, she would not be deterred from her dream of becoming a vigneronne. 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. Nicole makes traditional Beaujolais: hand harvesting, whole cluster fermentation, aging the wines in large oak foudres for at least nine months, and bottling unfiltered. The resulting wines are powerful, with loads of pure fruit character and floral aromas.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171