It’s no secret that France has a very good reputation when it comes to food and wine. It’s something the French pride themselves on and I certainly appreciate that!
Driving down through France we went through countless wine regions each one just as popular as the next, so we thought, when in Rome and all…
Matt sourced a beautiful little vineyard high in the hills above Nice called Château de Bellet.
It was a very small, family run business with a lot of history.
The setting was so beautiful. With a back drop of the Monastery, the Alps and the Mediterranean sea it was nothing short incredible.
We were given a quick tour around the vines followed by a peek inside the factory.
They produce red, rosé and white wines which are all organic.
Because the vineyard is 200 metres above sea level it means that the altitude and the winds bring freshness along with thermal amplitude, which is necessary for the production of beautiful wines. The vines are perfectly exposed and alternately refreshed by the wind coming from the sea and the one descending from the Alps.
The chapel, which is visible for miles, was built with the white stones of the ancient quarry of La Turbie. The same stones which were used to build the cathedral, the famous casino and the oceanographic museum of the Principality of Monaco.
The reputation of Bellet wines is international and ancient. Château de Bellet wines have been served at some rather large and important occasions: the summit of Versailles in 1982, the European summit in Nice in 2000 or the NATO in 2005. It was also recently served on the occasion of the Monegasque marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. So no biggie!
They were bottling when we were there so we got to see process in full flow and saw all the labels being put on by hand!
After our tour we were taken into the monastery and down into the crypt where we were given three wines to taste.
The names of the grapes to remember from Château de Bellet are Braquet, Folle Noire and Rolle. After the Second World War the Barons de Bellet were amongst only a “few vineyard families” who replanted and adapted the Vermentino B grape variety, which is locally known as Rolle, for the production of white wines.
We tried 3 wines. 2 white, one Rolle & one Chardonnay, and then 1 red.
The red was probably my favourite.
Naturally you’d want to try a rosé seeing as your in the south of France but because it’s such a small vineyard, and that’s their most popular wine, they reserve that for sales only. Which is a bit ironic because that’s all we drink when we’re over there.
Never mind. We were more than happy with what we had!
After getting a couple of bottles to take home we took in the views for one last time and hit the road keen to continue our adventure.
If you’re ever in the Cannes/Nice region I’d definitely recommend a visit. It’s a beautiful place with lovely wines. I’m sure you wont be disappointed!