In the southeastern-most corner of France, in Nice, on the Cote d’Azur, there is a tiny appellation known as Bellet. Approved for appellation status in the middle of the German occupation of France in 1914, the area has been producing white, rose and red wines from old vineyards that were introduced to the region by the Phoenicians in 2000 BC.
Beloved by the locals, it was a secret so fiercely guarded it was relatively unknown outside the area. The superstar grapes of the area are Braquet, similar to the Italian Brachetto of Piedmont, for the strong red wines of the area and Rolle or Italian Vermentino for white wines.
Le Clos Saint Vincent is one of only 15 domaines in the appellation. They make a Rolle harvested from old vines that is simply Spring in a bottle.
Rich and clean with a beautiful minerality reminiscent of Burgundy, it is pale straw yellow in color with a nose that is aromatic and fruity. With verbena and peach on the palate it is pure and velvety with a lengthy though fresh and precise ending. Versatile, it is a wine that can be drunk young or can keep.
Delicious as an aperitif, it also pairs well with seafood, shellfish and spicy vegetable dishes: cream of asparagus soup, artichokes, prosciutto and melon, crab salad, langoustines, sea bass and linguine with white clam sauce are delicious options.
Le Clos Saint Vincent is owned by Joseph Sergi (or Gio as he is known locally) who bought the then 4-acre domaine in 1993. Armed with not much more than passion and determination, Gio worked the vines during the day, instituting biodynamic farming practices immediately, and studied oenology at night. Today, Le Clos Saint Jacques extends across 14 acres and Gio’s knowledge and respect for the appellation earned him the Gault Millau Winemaker of the Year in 2012 and 3 stars by Bettane and Dessauve in 2013.
As if that wasn’t enough, Le Clos Blanc 2009 was served at the royal wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco in 2011.
Obviously, Bellet is a secret no more.
At Eli’s List, we have Le Clos, Clos Saint Vincent 2011