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.
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?
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.
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.
“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.”
In the 1980s and maybe into the 1990s, the wine was bottled in squat style bottles with a gold wire net over the bottle.
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.