TasteThe Riviera GrapevineWines and Spirits of Provence

Château de Crémat, Chanel and Bellet’s Link to an Iconic Logo

You may be asking yourself what the Nice vineyards of Bellet and Chanel, the legendary perfume house, could possibly have in common?

More, it would seem, than we think!

After all, there is a certain parallel between the art of blending a fine perfume and the art of blending a fine wine.

Bellet Terroir

With the Alps as a backdrop and the Côte d’Azur in the foreground, the vineyards of Bellet not only deliver great wines but a beautiful setting. Situated in the foothills of the southern Alps, the AOC Bellet is an AOP under EU rules. While the appellation covers 650 hectares, only 50 are planted with vines at 200-300 metres altitudes. Like many others in Provence, this appellation benefits from over 300 days of sunshine per year, sufficient natural rainfall in most years, and the mistral and tramontane winds that ensure the grapes don’t suffer from noble rot.

Terracing exists in several of the vineyards of Bellet, protecting the soil from erosion and maintaining some humidity in the earth. The ground is a well-draining mix of compacted sand with clay layers. Like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bellet’s vineyards have smooth galets roulés (small stones) that capture the day’s heat and slowly release the warmth during the nights, thus providing the vines with steady temperatures. The principal grapes include Rolle (Vermentino) and Chardonnay for white wines, and Folle Noire (Fouola Negra in Niçois means the crazy black grape), Braquet, Cinsault, and Grenache for red wines. The Braquet varietal is the main ingredient in a Bellet (AOP) rosé and often the only variety used.

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Chrissie McClatchie

Chrissie McClatchie

Sydney born Chrissie fell in love with the French Riviera at the age of 17, when she embarked on six months of French lessons (and table dancing at the Vieux Nice institution Chez Waynes).

Almost ten years after her first Nice experience, Chrissie returned to Nice for a summer and somewhat fortuitously landed a role with a local company selling fine wine to the superyachts along the coast, which cemented her passion for the fermented grape.

In late 2012 Chrissie started her blog, The Riviera Grapevine, to chronicle the wonderful and little-known local wines and indigenous grapes found along the French and Italian Riviera. Chrissie still works in wine and can often be found enjoying a sneaky Provence rosé at one of the al fresco bars on Nice's Place Garibaldi, or with her nose in her ever-expanding collection of wine literature.

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