Chateau de Crémat

Cornelis et Jarmilla Kamerbeek
442, Chemin de Crémat, 06200 Nice
Tél. +33 (0)4 92 15 12 15

old pc cremat


In 1900 Antoine Mari, a rich olive orchard owner and wine merchant bought the family land coincidently of li plana di Mari. In 1928, after he sold Crémat, he wrote for the L’Academia Nissarda an article on La suprématie de l’olivier niçois (the supremacy of the nicois olive).

Antoine Mari was also a flower grower, as many were in Bellet, and in 1901 he created a pink tea rose called Mme Antoine Mari.

Mme Antoine Mari tea rose
Mme Antoine Mari tea rose

In 1906, Mari started to construct the château above some old Roman cellars he had found on the site and re-planted vines in vineyards which had been ravaged by phylloxera.

He shipped his wines to America – were they known as Chateau de Crémat wines? who shipped them? evidence?

Window at Cremat with interlocking Cs borrowed by Coco Chanel
Window at Cremat with interlocking Cs borrowed by Coco Chanel

After the First World War his two sons decided to sell the château. The King of Spain was interested but in 1923 it was bought by a rich American the Belle Irene Bretz, a wealthy shareholder in a railway company and apparently friends with the young designer Coco Chanel. Here is a link to an interesting article on the interlocking C’s.

Mme Bretz used the architect Dalmas, responsible for the grand hotels Belle Époque and the Carlton in Cannes, to finish off the interior and exterior of the château.

After the Wall Street Crash in 1929 the estate was sold again and bought by the Thomé family who had just returned from Argentina. Pierre Thomé became president of the Syndicat of the Vignerons of Bellet and helped form the appellation in 1941.

After the second war the appellation was close to destruction and was close to loosing its appellation status.

Chateau de Crémat pin
Chateau de Crémat pin

At Château de Crémat, Jean Bagnis carried out alot of work in the cellar and the vineyards, restoring them to order by 1947.

In 1957 Bagnis and his son Charles bought the property.

In 1958 Charles replanted 8ha. In 1963 he made Crémat’s first white and rosé wines.

As well as making wine from their own vineyards, the Bagnis family were negociants  (also owning the large Provençal brand l’Estandon, which now belongs to the Union des Caves Cooperatives). The Bagni’s bought grapes from various tiny producers around Bellet, who were often also market gardeners, concentrating on carnations but with just a few vines as a sideline.

By 1986 there were 15ha, in the regions of Crémat, Saquier and Saint Saveur. 5ha of which produced white wine. Grapes from a further 23ha in all the other parcels of Bellet and cultivated by 10 local growers, were bought but vinified separately at a neighbour’s domaine, La Tour Sarrasine between 1974-82.

Cremat with snowy peaksYapp 1988 had Château de Cremat on their list. Their notes read:

“The Bagnis family are mainly responsible for the upswing in the fortunes of the appellation. Close attention is taken in the making of the wine. Bellet–Simple is wine vinified by the Bagnis’ from grapes supplied by their neighbours. Château de Cremat is made from their own grapes. Their Rosé is made from Braquet and Cinsault. The red is made from Folle Noire, Cinsault and a little Grenache and the white is made from Rolle.”

Old style Crémat bottle
Old style Crémat bottle

In the 1980s and 1990s, the wine was bottled in squat style bottles with a gold wire net over the bottle, until, apparently, Kamerbeek bought the estate.

The Macdonald Guide to French wines in 1988/9 wrote:

“Chateau de Cremat Red 1985 **: 6 ha, 25000 hectolitres. Aged in wood, temperature control. Good value for money (30-50FF). Chateau de Cremat White 1986 ***: 3 ha 20000 hectolitres. Fermented in temperature control tank. A good looking white wine; the nose is still closed, but is smooth, full and long.”

When the Bagni’s went bankrupt, these farmers found themselves without an outlet for their grapes. The Bagnis family, sold the bankrupted property to a M. Pisoni in 1995.

Pisoni’s cellarmaster produced very oaky wines that Rosemary George MW in 2003 did not regard as typical of the appellation.


Kamerbeek rented the chateau from 2000 and then purchased the chateau and estate in 2002-3, creating SCEA Kamerbeek.

The estate now has 11+ha in the three climates of Crémat, Saint-Saveur and Saquier and Mr Kamerbeek is attempting to enlarge the estate.

The Alps protect it from weather from the north. 300m above sea level which cools down the temperature.

  • The red wines are made up of Folle Noire 60%, Grenache 20% and Cinsault 20%.
  • The rosé is made up of 60% Braquet, 20% Grenache, 20% Cinsault.
  • The white is made of 80% Rolle and 20% Chardonnay.


2 responses to “Chateau de Crémat”

  1. Ilonka Guenther avatar

    You state: In the 1980s and maybe into the 1990s, the wine was bottled in squat style bottles with a gold wire net over the bottle.
    In fact today someone gave me 2 bottles of Chateau de Cremat; Bellet; one Rose from 1998 and one red wine from 1996. Both bottles were like the one on the left and both had the metal wire around the bottle. The rose had evaporated to some extend and therefore is most likely spoiled. The red wine looked ok. The question is knowing it was stored in warm Singapore not in a climate controlled room is it still drinkable?

    1. lizgabay avatar

      Good to know the dates – will amend the text to read at least until 1998. Whether it is still drinkable stored in less than ideal conditions is debatable. As it will not improve even if stored in a better cellar, I suggest opening and tasting – and do post back with how the wine is!

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