Bellet AOC is a tiny appellation for rarely seen still wines of all three colours from the Var Valley, in the hills above Nice and the Mediterranean beyond it, in the far south-east of the Provence region of France. Bellet was said to have been a favourite of both Thomas Jefferson and Louis XIV. The vineyards have been ‘almost engulfed by the encroaching city suburbs and by a glistening hillside eruption of huge greenhouses growing carnations and other plants for the flower markets of France and the local perfume distilleries,’ (Clive Coates MW: 1990, p.356).
Carnations and the need for more holiday homes on the fashionable Côte d’Azur has seen the Bellet vineyard shrink.
Communes (2): Ile de Porquerolles | St Romain de Bellet.
Terroir: James E Wilson (1998, p.301) describes the vines being ‘on very steeply terraced slopes of the Serre hills overlooking the Var river. The gravelly, sandy clay soils are weathered from Permian puddingstones (small gravel in a limy-clay matrix).’ Locally these [Quaternary] puddingstones are called ‘poudingue‘.
Wine production & vineyard area: 2002 911hl from 44ha (Guide Hachette des Vins 2004, p.780).
Bellet Blanc AOC: Made from Rolle, plus optionally Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Ugni Blanc, Roussanne.
Bellet Rosé AOC: ‘Delicious, spicy but pricey, to be drunk young,’ (Oz Clarke: 2015, p.37). From the same grape varieties as the red, below.
Bellet Rouge AOC: Fuella (Folle Noir) and Bracquet are local. Also Mourvèdre.
Certified Biodynamic: Clos Saint Vincent.
Others: Château de Bellet. | Château de Crémat. | Domaine Augier. | Domaine du Fogolar. Domaine de Taosc.