Bellet has a long and illustrious winemaking history – Thomas Jefferson admired its wines and enjoyed them at his plantation of Monticello after his Presidential retirement. It was given Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée accreditation in 1941 yet has remained relatively récherché with only about 15 estates actively bottling their own wine and just 70 hectares under vine out of a theoretical 650 hectares that could be planted.
Brother and sister Eric and Carine Dalmasso are the third generation of their family to farm at Domaine de la Source in Saint-Roman - having joined forces with their father Jacques in 2003 - and are actively pushing against the trend towards diminution by clearing land to plant new terraces of vines. Today, they boast 7 hectares under vine and all their rootstock is cultivated organically. Their wines enjoy a strong local following and can be found on the lists of some of the more aspirational dining establishments on the Côte d'Azur.
Their Bellet blanc is made from pure Rolle (aka Vermentino) grown on south- and south-east-facing soils with a high sand and pebble content and harvested by hand. The finished wine has citrus fruit and wildflower scents plus an elegant stone-fruit palate with a long, dry finish. It makes for an excellent al fresco aperitif or partner to seafood. A sibling rosé - from the local grape Braquet Noir - has an attractive coral pink robe, a bouquet of Provençale herbs, summer berries and a refreshing red fruit core offset by fresh acidity. Completing a terrific triumvirate is Eric and Carine's Bellet rouge that is made from a blend of 80% Folle Noir and 20% Grenache Noir that is matured in French oak barrels for a year before bottling. It has wild rose aromas with peppery undertones and a full-bodied palate of autumnal fruit that has sufficient tannic grip to improve over a decade in the cellar. It pairs well with grilled red meats or sautéd wild mushrooms with plenty of garlic and merits decanting before serving.