The Clairette de Bellegarde vineyards, neighbouring the Costières-de-Nîmes growing area, lie on the approaches to the Camargue, halfway between Beaucaire and Saint-Gilles. The vines draw their strength from stony soils overlying a bed of clay, which respectively warm up and water the Clairette blanche grape, which does so well here.
This is a land of tradition with a strong local character: every year in early May, mass is celebrated in Provençal at the foot of the Bellegarde tower and, in October, the inhabitants process through the village dressed in traditional costume. There are also races involving the famous white horses of the Camargue, and bull-running… In mid-summer, music is on the agenda, in the form of an international guitar festival.
A well-rounded, distinguished wine, Clairette de Bellegarde is a vibrant yellow in colour when young.
A relatively unsung vine-growing area which will delight gold prospectors…
Clairette de Bellegarde AOC wines are all made exclusively from the Clairette blanche grape variety. The minimum permitted alcohol content is 11%. To appreciate their floral and almondy notes, these wines are best drunk young.
Colonised by Greeks from Rhodes in the middle of the 8th century BC, this territory became associated with viticulture during the Imperial Roman era.
In the Middle Ages, the Knights of Malta (a military order of monks) developed the vineyards of Saint Gilles du Gard and, by the 14th century, wines from Saint-Gilles and the Costières de Nîmes were much appreciated at the papal court in Avignon.
Clairette de Bellegarde has enjoyed AOC status since 1949 and its wines are now produced by fifteen or so growers, some cooperatively, others in their own wineries.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)1949Birth of AOC Clairette de Bellegarde
The very fragmented growing area comprises plots which in some cases date back to 1940. It lies on the Bellegarde terrace, at an altitude of 60 metres. The ranks of vines alternate with cypresses, olive groves and apricot orchards.
Typical Mediterranean climate, tempered by the mistral and tramontana winds.
The rolled pebbles of this terroir store heat to ripen the grapes, as well as ensuring good drainage in the event of heavy rainfall. Clayey soil with a high proportion of flinty stone (the “topsoil” consists of 60% pebbles).
surface area16 hectares
Total production327 hl
Average yield achieved21 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2013