Mention the French Riviera, an exotic tourist for the rich and famous everywhere, and you cannot skip Nice. This is a picturesque French town with a serene coastline and vibrant ancient buildings and structures. Located in the south, it mainly enjoys a temperate, sunny, and clear climate. Of course, this is when it is not cold or rainy. This kind of weather is excellent for the cultivation of a variety of grapes. Nice has provided the world with some great wines, particularly red wine.
World-famous wines like Syrah (Shiraz), Tibouren, and Grenache come from Nice. Then there is Cinsault too. It is a locally-grown grape variety, deep red in color. Having sweet berry flavors to it, it is mainly used in the making of rose wine.
Let us look at some of the best vineyards and wineries located in Nice.
The great Alps surrounds this vineyard in the background and the rolling blue waves of the Mediterranean below. It enjoys gentle winds and sea breezes apart from plenty of sunshine almost throughout the year. Thus, the Chateau de Bellet enjoys not only great natural beauty but also great weather. This results in the slow maturation of various sweet, luscious grapes. It also helps yield wines that are as delectable as they are full-bodied.
This vineyard is known for several rare grape varieties that are pretty old and locally grown in Nice. These chiefly include Rolle, Braquet N, and Fuella Nera. They mainly go into the production of red wines and rosè wines.
The wines from this vineyard are of 3 basic types – the Pleasure Wines, the Terroir Wines, and the Wines of Exception.
Located just 10 mins away from the Chateau de Bellet is the Domaine de la Source. Another small but famous winery in Nice produces the famed Bellet wines. This family-owned winery is into the production of certified organic wines. They care about sustainability and our environment, and their small 7-hectare vineyard reflects this.
They use traditional methods of wine vintage and grow the grapes commonly cultivated in Nice – Rolle, Braquet, and Folle Noire or Grenache. While Rolle goes into making white wine, Braquet is rosè, and the last (Grenache) is a kind of red grape. This small winery also allows groups of up to 50 individuals for visiting and wine-tasting sessions.
Not only is the Chateau de Saint Martin vineyard one of the largest in Provence, but it is also among the oldest. Owned by the French nobility, it comes with an extensive history and rich heritage. It is amongst the first vineyards where grapes for wine and olives grow.
Located 130 meters above sea level, it has a soil composition existing of clay and limestone. Included in this is a bit of quartz, sandstone, and silt. Together, these contribute to the cultivation of grapes of a higher quality. These yield wines with a full body and a lush, rich character.
This vineyard is again environmentally conscious, looking at sustainable options for wine-making and protecting its natural biodiversity. It is a mixture of very old vines (between 30 and 80 years) and those that are just about mature. The very new or recent vines add to this versatile mix.
Speaking about their unique wines, there are the Bulles de Rosè, the Vin Cuit de Provence, and Marc de Provence. These are either strong brandies with an undercurrent of spice or “unique nectars,” in their own words. There is also the elite Cru Classes Cote de Provence collection.
This is another vineyard located in Provence, more well-known for being extremely pleasant on the eye. It attracts numerous visitors annually with a blanket of green surrounded by rolling blue hills in the distance. Most of these just wish to soak in nature’s grandeur on display. In French, its name translates to fountain and pitcher, a metaphor for fertility. With a variety of wines made here – sparkling golden champagne, some whites, red wine, and rosè- this metaphor is not misplaced.
Like many other of its counterparts, this vineyard undertakes grape-growing and wine-brewing in an eco-friendly manner. Its owners fully believe in sustainable farming methods. They take all possible care to keep the fragile balance of biodiversity alive here.
The pristine vistas that this Chateau offers mean there are a lot of visitors to it. Many are also interested in using it as a venue for occasions like weddings. Various events occur on its premises – some of them being the Spring Festival, the Harvest Festival, and Truffle Day, among others.
This one is locally known as the gem of Bellet Wines in Nice. It has a unique history dates back to 250 BC when the Greeks created Nice, then called Nikaia. They also introduced vineyards and wine-making to this part of France. Then came the Romans responsible for the vineyard of Chateau de Cremat, as known today. Between the 19th and 20th centuries, this castle changed numerous hands. Its most recent owners are Olivier Bettati and a Dutch couple, Germila and Kornelis Kamerbeck.
However, as rich a history as it possesses, it is really a tiny vineyard. Nevertheless, the wine produced here seems high quality and greatly sought after. They mostly manufacture the Bio wines from Folle Noire, Braquet, and Rolle varieties of grapes.
There is a lot more to Nice than just the sea and sand. Any visitor to Nice is missing out if they do not visit any or all of these vineyards and sample the wines produced here.