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15th April 2020

Time to drink the good stuff like there’s no tomorrow* #15

Domaine Saint Jean ‘Li Vecce’ 2014
Bellet, France. 14%

Bellet is my nearest wine appellation, in the hills above Nice. But currently it is as distant away as any far-flung Southern Hemisphere region. It’s only 63ha, and home to 9 producers, for most of whom it is not their main livelihood.

The grape varieties are niche, too, with reds based on Folle Noire, and rosés from Braquet (neither of which grow anywhere else). The whites, however, are based on Rolle (aka Vermentino) the great white grape of the Mediterranean. For me, the best Bellet wines are the greatest expression of this variety, and this wine is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for that assertion.

Nathalie and Jean-Patrick Pacioselli are in some ways the new kids on the block with a very small smallholding of 2.5ha in three places in the appellation. They first took leases and purchased land at the beginning of the century. Despite their relative newness, I firmly believe that their barrel matured Rolle, Li Vecce, is one of, if not the, finest whites of Provence as a whole.

Rolle/Vermentino is a variety capable of coping with sunshine, which makes it suitable for the climate here, but also very adaptable to fermentation and maturation in oak (here a mixture of barrel-ages). The wine that results is decidedly Burgundy-like with aromas of honeysuckle, ginger, tarte-tatin and pear. It’s full and rich in the mouth, but backed up by the zesty lime-pith and thyme freshness that characterises the grape. There’s a little vanilla and oatmeal from the oak, but it is very much the frame rather than the main attraction, which is the complex array of fruit, spice, mineral and herb flavours. Compelling, delicious, and very easy to drink. Santé!

More information about Bellet in this article I wrote, here

*There might be no tomorrow.


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