One day, some friends and I decided to get out of town! We decided to have lunch in the vicinity of a nearby castle, where we had planned on doing a guided visit and degustation (wine tasting). The drive up into the heart of the Bellet vineyards took about 25 minutes, as we meandered our way up into the hills behind Nice.
Stopping in Colomars, we walked around and discovered a hotel/restaurant, L’Auberge du Redier, nestled into a hillside and with magnificent gardens. The staff was very welcoming, and after lingering in the beautiful gardens, we were seated at a table in front of one of the large windows in the light and spacious dining room. The food was excellent and the service was top rate – combined with the lovely surroundings and warm ambience, this lunch was special, affordable, and a great find!
In keeping with our planned itinerary, we drove to the Chateau de Cremat, noting for future reference that we could take bus #62 from Nice = no designated driver needed! The castle, built in 1906, was strikingly beautiful, with panoramic and breathtaking views. The doors and stained glass windows were impressive, etched with the castle’s symbol.
We heard and saw how the wine is produced, still some in oak barrels, and that it is AOC (appellation d’origine controllee) – an official label, which identifies a product’s geographical origin, standardized method of production and know-how, and authentic quality and characteristics. We were getting thirsty and ready for the wine tasting that followed the tour! (another point for taking a bus, to avoid missing out on the best part!)
We learned that the castle had several owners in its history, and in particular, an American woman, who hosted many high-society parties. As the story was told, one of the guests that the owner befriended was Coco Chanel, to whom the owner gave the right to use the official symbol of the castle’s name: the two intertwining C’s – seen in the doors and windows at the castle! (three short videos in this link)
In 2001, the castle was bought by Cornelius Kamerbeek as a private residence; he rehabilitated the abandoned vineyards, a total of about 25 hectares/62 acres, modernized the wine caves, and added a boutique/wine tasting area. The original symbol (initials of the castle) can still be seen there, but the official symbol is the current owner’s initials: the intertwining letters a backward “C” and a “K.” (see slideshow photo)
I ended up buying a couple bottles of wine and a bottle of olive oil, as souvenirs, to end the day’s visit to a castle with TRUE fashionable style!
Informational video in French