The Barons of Bellet were of Savoyard origin and established an estate in the hills above Nice in the 18th century, when the county of Nice and Savoie were still Italian: they gave it their name, without of course knowing that much later it would become an AOC in its own right. Recognized in 1941, the appellation is located entirely within the commune of Nice. On the appellation's highest plots, Château de Bellet's vines surround the old family chapel, built with white stone from the old La Turbie quarry, and thus visible for miles around. The same stone was used to build Monaco's cathedral, its famous casino, and the oceanographic museum. The average altitude of 200 metres and the winds from the sea bring the freshness and differences between day and night-time temperatures necessary for the production of refined, elegant wines. On the hillsides, the vines are alternately cooled by the winds from the Mediterranean, and from the Alps. Château de Bellet is the northernmost of the southern vineyards. Château de Bellet also uses an unusual range of grape varieties: most of them can only be find in this little Niçoise appellation: Braquet and Folle Noire for the reds, and Rolle (or Vermentino) for the whites. They are supplemented by a little Grenache and just a hint of Cinsault in the reds and of Chardonnay in the whites. Bellet's wines have a long-standing reputation. Thomas Jefferson, a great fan of French wines, appreciated Nice's grand cru on the occasion of one of his visits to France. Its notoriety continues today. The "Baron G" cuvées are made in all three colours and constitute the property's top-of-the range wines.
About the cuvée
This cuvée is produced from the little known varietal, Braquet, grown on puddingstone soil; featuring pebble, fine sand and veins of clay. The vineyard is certified organic and grapes are harvested by hand, subjected to a scrupulous selection process before winemaking begins. In the winery the fruit undergoes skin contact maceration before maturing for 6 months in stainless steel vats. Skin contact maceration confers an intense smoked-salmon hue to the wine and the nose reveals intense notes of fresh fruit (wild strawberry), citrus and violets. In the mouth, there is a fine tannic structure, coated with fruit-forward and floral notes which are lifted by a saline freshness that is so often a feature of Mediterranean wines. This is a brilliant food-friendly cuvée, pairing particularly well with grilled fish or spiced dishes.
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