Travel guide: Nice for wine lovers

The capital of the French Riviera delivers charm and authenticity in abundance says Chrissie McClatchie, who picks the best places to eat and drink - plus some vineyards to visit.

Cave de la Tour

Cosy wine shop and bar on one of the prettiest squares in Vieux Nice. This is a must-visit for anyone interested in Nice wine, stocking every producer from the region and serving classic Niçois fare at lunchtime, including a traditional stockfish dish every second Friday that has a cult following.

La Cave Bianchi

Founded in 1860, Nice’s oldest wine merchant overflows with history. On the site of a former Dominican monastery, the vaulted cellars date from the 17th century and provide a magical setting for private tastings. The daily wine tasting, held around the street-level bar at 6pm sharp, is a relaxed affair.

Les Compagnons de la Grappe

Renato Reno has weathered six years of tramline construction on the doorstep of his Place Garibaldi wine shop and plans to celebrate its completion later this year by adding a gourmet food counter to the shop to complement his wine selection. Specialising in rare wines and old vintages, Reno is also lauded for his noteworthy whisky collection.

Vin sur Vin

This city centre bistro is a perennial favourite, with a well-stocked wine cellar that diners are encouraged to browse, and arguably the city’s best steak-frites. The plat du jour at lunch is also great value. The sun-drenched terrace here fills up fast, while the tables inside enjoy a warm conviviality.

La Cave du Cours

Armand Crespo continues to light up Nice’s food and wine scene, opening this ultra-hip wine cave in late 2017. Stop here for little-known treasures from all over France, as well as light meals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Just off the bustling Cours Saleya in the old town, it’s hard to miss the trendy weekend crowd spilling onto the pavement.

Le Plongeoir

Dramatically perched on a rocky outcrop six metres above the sea in Nice’s port, it’s easy to see why Le Plongeoir is the place to be during summer. This breezy outdoor restaurant and lounge bar specialises in fresh and modern Mediterranean cuisine; while the ferries steaming in from Corsica provide a memorable backdrop.

La Part des Anges

Since 1998 La Part des Anges has been a favourite address for local wine lovers, offering a veritable treasure trove of organic and biodynamic wines to enjoy on- or off-premise. At lunchtime, the plat du jour draws a hungry crowd, as does the menu at La Mise au Verre, its sister bistro tucked conveniently around the corner.

Château de Bellet

Large by appellation standards, with 11ha of vine under cultivation, Château de Bellet is Nice’s oldest vineyard. Guided tours in English and French show off the terraced vines and modern cellar, and the bijou 18th-century private chapel and crypt, converted into an atmospheric tasting room in 2015, is an added treat.

Domaine de la Source

This 5ha vineyard typifies the boutique nature of the Bellet appellation. Carine and Eric Dalmasso are a dynamic brother-and-sister duo crafting charming wines from their family home. Passing visitors are encouraged to discover the range of wines and homemade olive oil in the gentle shade of their back garden.

Blue Coast Brewing Company

With sports star ambassadors and a trendy industrial estate address beneath the Bellet vineyards, Blue Coast is leading the local craft drinks revolution. On the first Saturday of the month its smart taproom opens to the public, its three boutique brews enjoyed with live music, a food truck and a chilled, family-friendly vibe.

Chrissie McClatchie is a freelance writer who has lived in Nice for over a decade. This first appeared as part of a guide in the June 2019 issue of Decanter. 

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