By that I mean, wines from Nice.
â€œBut wine doesnâ€™t come from Nice!â€ I hear you exclaim, â€œIt comes from Champagne, and Bordeaux, andâ€¦â€
Mais oui, this is trueâ€¦ but it also comes from Nice.
The only AOC (Appellation dâ€™Origine ContrÃ´lÃ©e) within city limits, Bellet is not only one of the smallest in the country but also one of the oldest (since 1941). Granted, when mention is made of this coastal area between Cannes and Monaco, vineyards are not what spring to mind but I can assure you that they are there â€“ hidden away among the hills. Ten of them, to be precise, covering around 125 acres, and producing some 200,000 bottles a year of the (ahem) nicest whites, rosÃ©s, and reds youâ€™ll find in France.
The main white grape here is Rolle, which is grown along the coast from Liguria in Italy (itâ€™s called Vermentino there), down to Provence. Rolle, when blended with a little Chardonnay grape produces a lovely crisp Vin Bellet Blanc â€“ perfect for sipping on warm days in the sun. For rosÃ©s, the indigenous Braquet â€“ named after one of the local families â€“ produces a darker, but no less delicious, wine than those in Provence, while the full-bodied reds from the area are made with a blend of another native, the Folle Noire, and Grenache and Braquet varieties.
You could be forgiven for being unfamiliar with Belletâ€™s wines though â€“ most of what the region produces hardly ever leaves the locality. Of course, what this means is that thereâ€™s always a perfect pairing with the local food on offer in restaurants.
If youâ€™d like to visit the vineyards, tours are available by appointment, and youâ€™ll find a warm welcome, plus the opportunity to have tastings too.
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