Did you know that you can enjoy wines from Menton, Mougins and Mandelieu?
As well as Saint-Jeannet, Saint-Paul de Vence, Tourettes-sur-Loup and even theLes Îles de Lérins off Cannes?
There really are vineyards in places least expected along our azure coast!
The aforementioned local vineyards are all classified as IGP, which stands for indication géographique protégée (or vin de pays).
So what’s the difference between an AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and an IGP? It’s not so much a comparison of quality as you could easily think.
The AOC label is in place to protect historic wine areas of France. Each appellation is tightly regulated and the rules control such aspects as what grapes can be planted and where to achieve this. AOC wines must also show “tipicity”. In other words a Bellet wine should taste like a Bellet wine, not like a Côtes du Rhône.
Whereas wines which are categorised as IGP are not bound by such strict regulations and winemakers have much more freedom, especially when it comes to grape varieties. IGP wines can be some of the most interesting (and best value) wines to discover.
Here’s The Riviera Grapevine’s introduction to the eight vineyards of the Alpes-Maritimes!
Name: Domaine de Barbossi
Address: 3300 avenue de Fréjus, Mandelieu-La Napoule
Phone (hotel switchboard):+ 33 (0)4 93 49 42 41
Varieties grown: Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Rolle, Chardonnay & Muscat Petit Grain
Wines produced: White, Red & Rosé
A bit more info: The vineyard at Domaine de Barbossi comprises just one part of a mini-empire in the hills of Mandelieu-La Napoule. A luxury hotel and sporting complex, it’s a rather professional wine outfit which is responsible for between 16 to 18,000 bottles a year. If I was wondering why this was the one IGP wine I rarely see on the shelves around here, the answer lies on the website. It’s safe to say that a fair amount of the total production doesn’t even leave the hotel complex, happily guzzled by the hotel guests.
Visitors welcome: They are not yet set up for wine tourism as such, but if you’re in Nice you can find their wine at La Part des Anges.
Name: La Vigne de Pibonson
Address: 303 chemin du Miracle, Mougins
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 75 33 63
Varieties grown: Rolle & Grenache
Wines produced: White, Rose and a late-harvest sweet wine (vin doux)
A bit more info: A little over one hectare of precious land on the border of Cannes and Mougins has been salvaged from real estate developers by a Norwegian man and his wife who have a clear passion for wine. Together with the help of some of the regions finest oenologists, they make around 6000 bottles of their three wines. A grape miracle onchemin du Miracle!
Visitors welcome: As it stands, they are not (yet) set up for wine tourism either.
Îles de Lérins
Name: Abbaye de Lérins
Address: Île St Honorat
Varieties grown: Syrah, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Clairette, Chardonnay & Viognier.
Wines produced: Red & White, as well as assorted liqueurs.
A bit more info: This really is holy wine! Less than 15 minutes from Cannes and its glamorous Croisette are les Îles de Lérins. The two islands are Île St Marguerite and Île St Honorat. The former was reputedly home to the famous Man in the Iron Mask and the latter has housed a continual monastic community since the 5th century. Who make wine. All the wines are named for a different saint, and the vineyards, set by the ocean with the glittering coastline of Cannes as a backdrop, are undoubtedly some of the most spectacularly located vines in the world! A definite French Riviera wine highlight.
Visitors welcome: Yes, by appointment. A selection of (paying) tastings and tours are available, including summer wine cruises on select dates.
For more information: Excellence de Lérins website
Name: Domaine Saint Joseph
Address: 160 chemin des Vignes, Tourettes-sur-Loup
Telephone: +33 (0) 4 93 58 81 31/ +33 (0)6 09 28 26 59
Varieties grown: Marselan, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Folle Noire, Braquet, Cinsault, Clairette, Rolle & Sémillon.
Wines produced: Red, White, Rosé, Sparkling & a sweet, aperitif wine
A bit more info: With one hectare of vines in the village of Tourettes-sur-Loup, and a slightly larger holding beneath the ramparts of Saint-Paul de Vence, Domaine Saint Joseph boasts two of the prettiest locations for vines on the Riviera! Certified biodynamic, just over 10,000 bottles are produced a year by this family run operation. A visit to the tasting room in Tourettes is highly recommended.
Visitors welcome: Yes, by appointment.
Saint-Paul de Vence
Name: Le Petit Vigneau
Address: 1466 Route des Serres, Saint-Paul de Vence
Telephone: +33 (0)6 62 51 92 08
Varieties grown: Rolle, Sémillon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Clairette, Braquet, Mourvèdre, Folle Noire and Grassenc (phew!)
Wines produced: Red, White & Rosé
A bit more info: The last thing you’d expect in this quiet, residential street in Saint-Paul de Vence is to come across a vineyard, but that’s exactly the surprise at number 1466. Raphael Vigneau is a busy man, running a very successful Provence wine tours company (Azur Wine Tours) as well as this boutique vineyard with a view of the old village in the background. One of the rare (if not the only) winemakers to grow the little-known, indigenous grape Grassenc. Another must visit for any local wine lovers.
Visitors welcome: Yes, by appointment. Tour and tasting costs €5.
Name: Vignoble des Hautes Collines de la Côte d’Azur
Address: 800 chemin des Sausses, Saint-Jeannet
Telephone: +33 (0)4 93 24 96 01
Varieties grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Braquet, Mourvèdre, Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay & Muscat of Alexandria
Wines produced: White, Red, Rosé, Sparkling, & Vin Doux (sweet white and red)
A bit more info: Somewhat of an icon in these parts, the ‘vineyard of Saint-Jeannet’ (as it is more commonly known) is famous for their rather unique glassbonbonnieres (bottles) which age the wine, as well as the whimsical labels which reflect the vintage. Warm colours stand for a hot year, whilst colder colours can be interpreted as a cooler vintage. The last vineyard standing under the baou of Saint-Jeannet, a visit is strongly recommended to discover their interesting and varied styles of wine.
Visitors welcome: Yes, but an appointment is strongly recommended. Prices for a tasting start at €8 per person.
(Read posted article by 24/7 in France HERE)
Name: Domaine Augier
Address: 680, St Roman de Bellet, Nice
Telephone: +33 (0)4 92 15 11 99
Wines produced: Red, White & Rosé
A bit more info: The address may look familiar – Domaine Auguier, producing wine since 1991, was once part of the AOC Bellet and has been bottling under the IGP Alpes-Maritimes label for three years now. Winemaking is in the Augier blood and it’s Elise Augier, the third generation, now responsible for an annual production of up to 4,000 bottles.
Visitors welcome: The vineyard welcomes visitors every Tuesday and Thursday between 4.30pm and 7pm by appointment.
Name: Domaine de l’Annonciade
Address: Near the Monastère de l’Annonciade, 2135 Corniche André Tardieu, Menton
Varieties grown: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Syrah, Malunvern.
Wines produced: Red (vin de table, a different classification to IGP in fact)
A bit more info: Situated on the same hill in Menton as the monastery which bears the same name, it was the monks who historically grew grapes on this site. Cut to the 1990′s, and a volunteer group going by the name of Confrérie de l’Etiquette du Mentonnais decided to restore the winemaking tradition here.If you’re a fan of obscure vineyards and grapes, it doesn’t get better than Domaine de l’Annonciade and their mysterious Malunvern. In fact, it’s difficult to find a single reference to it, even in my trusted grape bible, Wine Grapes.
Visitors welcome: Not as such, but keep an eye on their blog (below) for details of upcoming wine tastings they will be present at.
Honorary mention must go to Domaine de Toasc in Nice, who along with their AOC Bellet wines also bottle an IGP wine or two.
I would like to cite two very useful websites in helping my ‘forensics’ when it came to finding out the above information:
Asncap – Association of Sommeliers of Nice Côte d’Azur and Elizabeth Gabay, a Master of Wine living in the hinterland of Nice and actively promoting the wines of the area.
Source/Credit: The Riviera Grapevine