The vineyards of Nice, south of France

Written by on November 26, 2014 in Provence-Alpes, Wine and Drinks

Bellet-wine-Nice

Nice Wine: Of course for most of us at least, wine is nice, but specifically we’re referring to the wine made in and around the city of Nice.

The glittering stretch of coastline between Monaco and Cannes may be famous for many things, but the fermented grape isn’t one of them. That’s why most visitors and even some locals are surprised to learn of a collection of vineyards hidden in the western hills of Nice.

Bellet-view-over-Nice

One of the smallest AOC’s (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in France, and the only one found entirely within city limits, Bellet is one of the oldest winemaking areas in the country and was officially granted AOC status in 1941. The setting is one of the finest in Nice with panoramic views from the mountains of the Mercantour Valley sweeping down to the glittering azure of the Mediterranean Sea.

Today, despite Bellet’s popularity as prime real estate for sprawling Niçois villas, ten vineyards craft a Nice wine, which can be either red, white or rosé.

Bellet-house

Rolle is the main white grape variety in Bellet, grown along the coast from Provence into Liguria (where it is known as Vermentino). In Nice, a little Chardonnay is not uncommon in the blend. A glass of Bellet Blanc is the perfect match to a summery waterfront lunch: aromatic and refreshing, bursting with citrus and floral flavours.

Bellet-wine-signBraquet, a red grape indigenous to the Alpes-Maritimes, is the main grape used in a Bellet rosé. Named after a prestigious local family, rosé made from Braquet is darker in hue than its Provence counterparts and produces a weightier wine with freshness and good structure. It’s a great rosé to match with food.

Another indigenous variety, Folle Noire, is the main ingredient in a Bellet red. Usually blended with Braquet and Grenache, these are serious and elegant wines with harmonious tannins and ageing potential.

With just over 50 hectares of vines under cultivation, production is small and, in total, less than 200,000 bottles are produced annually. The wines rarely leave the Côte d’Azur, popular additions to the restaurant wine lists along the coast. As you can imagine, they are a great match with local cuisine.

Of course, there is also the opportunity to discover the wines in situ. The vineyards welcome visits and tastings, the majority by appointment.

Bellet-Nice

The wines from Nice have been long appreciated by presidents and royalty. Louis XIV, and later, Thomas Jefferson were partial to a glass or two and Nice wine was served at the wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco.

So grab a glass of Nice wine, you’re in fine company…

chrissie-mcclatchieBy Chrissie McClatchie, an Australian wine specialist who has lived in Nice for seven years. Follow her travels at www.rivieragrapevine.com or on Twitter @RivieraGrape

More wine:
Expats find life is rosé in France as they learn to make the pink drink
Top tips for wine tasting in France
Rachel Khoo’s red wine and chicken recipe
Great French wines – is it all about labels?
Wine tasting under the stars at the Chateau de Chenonceau

Related Articles

Vin Chaud recipe from France

Vin Chaud recipe from France

Written by on December 6, 2019 in Wine and Drinks

The most sensational, lush, delectable French mulled wine, deep ruby red, spicy and deliciously warming, this recipe outranks all others… This vin chaud recipe takes a somewhat different approach to flavouring the wine compared to other recipes. Instead of simmering the wine with the mulling spices, leave it to steep for three days along with […]

Continue Reading

Perfect guide to wine pairing at Christmas

In France, Christmas meals lasting anything up to 6 hours are de rigeur. But, with more than 200 wine varieties to choose from – how do you know which are the best wines to drink at Christmas? We asked Laurent Yung of the renowned French wine club, SomMailier for some tips! How the French drink […]

Continue Reading

The Wine Lover’s Guide to Bordeaux, France

A visit to Bordeaux’s stunning vineyards and fairytale chateaux must feature on any wine lover’s bucket list. But with so many superb quality producers and cultural treasures to choose from, how on earth do you put together the perfect Bordeaux itinerary? We asked Laurent Yung, founder of SomMailier wine club in the US. He’s a […]

Continue Reading

Wines of the Rhône Valley

Wines of the Rhône Valley

Written by on October 31, 2019 in Wine and Drinks

If someone asked, “What are the wines of Popes and Presidents?” what would you say? You might guess Bordeaux or Burgundy or maybe even Champagne. But the right answer is the wines of the Rhône Valley. The mighty Rhône River bursts forth from Lake Geneva in Switzerland and flows 500 miles south to the Mediterranean […]

Continue Reading

South of France and Lavender tour of Provence

A nine-day tour of the south of France in July taking in the lavender fields of Provence which are at their blooming best… Medieval villages, magnificent castles, cafés with tables and chairs spilling out onto cobbled streets and little squares. Narrow streets lined with pastel coloured houses, shops and galleries. Gastronomic good, wonderful wines and […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top