First-rate, organic wines from the most distinctive appellation in France
- Alain’s historical winery Château de Crémat sits in the heart of Bellet, Nice - one of the most distinctive and historic appellations in France. With a teeny 60 hectares of vines to its name, this is a winemaking enclave that proves that good things really do come in small packages.
- A man with a taste for niche wines and unique land (he spent the last 15 years as Head of Culture at an ancient monastery in the French Riviera) - Alain was drawn to Bellet's mystique, and has since fallen head over heels for the magical appellation and its potential for exceptional wines.
- He played an important role in the conversation that made Bellet the first appellation in France to convert to 100% organic agriculture, encouraging healthier well-structured soils, and more defined, flavourful wines. It requires resilience and constant high-standards, but results in some of the most expressive reds, floral whites, and stylish rosé you’ll ever taste.
Alain Valles's Story
In the heart of the confidential vineyard of Bellet stands the Château de Crémat, a vast French family vineyard in the neo-Tuscan style with a new Nice flavour.
Overlooking the city of Nice, the castle offers a unique panoramic view of the surrounding area. Its history and singularity intrigue and fascinate visitors in search of typicality.
Château de Crémat is at the heart of the Bellet appellation: a fascinating terroir. Complex and rich, this unique land with exceptional potential was chosen years ago by Mr Valles, the château’s winemaker who has become one of the most fervent ambassadors of the terroir.
From his 15 years as head of culture at the mythical Abbaye de Lérins, not far from there on the island of Saint-Honorat, Alain Vallès has retained the essential: a love of rare and confidential wines, an appetite for unique lands and a certain taste for silence.
In 2014, he embarked on the “belletane” adventure and discovered with emotion a magical terroir and its potential for exceptional wines.
Heterogeneity of the terroir, steep slopes, draining soils, delicious and demanding grape varieties.
These are all elements that Alain perceives as riches that the winegrowers must make the most of.
Working in Bellet is a constant challenge, which this optimistic self-taught man takes up with great pleasure and humility.
The Work Philosophy
For Alain, the work in the vineyard and the respect for the vines are essential if we want to obtain a beautiful wine. In 2014, he accompanied the conversion of the vineyard to organic farming. The objective of this change was to obtain more lively, healthier, well-structured soils and thus a more resistant vineyard able to cope with climatic hazards.
In the specifications of the AB label, there are numerous actions aimed at improving the behaviour of the vines (leaf removal for example) but also actions concerning the maintenance of the soil and the maintenance of biological life in the vineyard (grassing if necessary).
This type of soil maintenance requires constant effort…work that requires patience, resilience and high standards. The winegrower often spends several hours on a single plot.
The main goal for the winemaking is to make silky and expressive red wines, intense and floral white ones, and a stylish character for the rosé.
From a gustatory point of view, organic farming also allows for a better definition of flavours in the wine. An organic wine expresses a more savoury, more digestible maturity. A good raw material is necessary to obtain a quality wine.
We work with a material that is more concentrated in sugar, of better quality with more homogeneous ripeness and the collection and transport are done in a respectful way because the berries are never damaged.
Working with Naked Wines
It's really a great opportunity for us to showcase the beautiful but still confidential terroir of Bellet. We really appreciate the concept of Naked Wines and knowing that our wines are tasted and recognized abroad makes us particularly proud.
For all the Angels, thank you very much and good tasting!