Bordeaux Blend,

Here wine is much more than just some­thing to drink, it is a way of life!

Bordeaux J'Adore - - Contents - CARO­LINE MATTHEWS

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IT IS SAID THAT ONE OUT OF EV­ERY 6 IN­HAB­I­TANTS OF BORDEAUX WORK IN THE WINE BUSI­NESS;

easy to be­lieve when you con­sider that there are at least 6,500 es­tates, over 30 co­op­er­a­tives, 720 mil­lion bot­tles, 300 mer­chant houses and 90 courtiers in­volved in cre­at­ing and sell­ing the 750,000 mil­lion or so bot­tles pro­duced on av­er­age each year. The in­dus­try is as in­ter­twined with the fab­ric of the lo­cal so­ci­ety as the roots of old vines are with the gravel and lime­stone found in the vine­yards. Un­sur­pris­ing when you con­sider that the Bordeaux wine re­gion is one of the old­est in the world, dat­ing back to the ar­rival of the Ro­mans over 2,000 years ago. Today wine is sec­ond only to aero­nau­tics in its im­por­tance to the lo­cal econ­omy, with the pos­i­tive ef­fects of an ex­cep­tional vin­tage be­ing re­ver­ber­ated through­out the city. And it is not just the wine that is of high qual­ity. Cred­ited as the birth­place of Mer­lot and Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, it is fit­ting then that the most rel­e­vant re­search on these va­ri­eties is con­ducted in Bordeaux at the ISVV (In­sti­tut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin) which is also a cen­tre for oeno­log­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion. Tourists too can ex­pect an en­hanced ex­pe­ri­ence with La Cité du Vin and bi­en­nial Fête le Vin, some of the many ways to dis­cover the city and its wines.

La Cité du Vin

De­spite its name, Bordeaux’s lat­est mu­seum is about more than just wine. Its strik­ing form, said to re­sem­ble the move­ment of wine in a glass, is a draw for struc­tural de­sign lovers for whom a daily, 1 hour ‘Spot­light on Ar­chi­tec­ture‘ visit was cre­ated. Judg­ing by the events cal­en­dar, it is clear too that the or­ga­niz­ers are not nec­es­sar­ily tar­get­ing wine en­thu­si­asts, with cul­tural, so­cial and po­lit­i­cal themes like ‘Is wine good for our health?‘ and ‘Should wine be taught in schools?‘. Even the per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion, where the av­er­age vis­i­tor spends al­most 3 hours, was not con­ceived to ed­u­cate about wine. Ex­hibits such as the Ter­roir Ta­ble, with its life size im­ages of wine­mak­ers and ever-chang­ing land­scapes, are de­signed as ex­pe­ri­ences which leave an im­pres­sion rather than im­part knowl­edge. The aroma buf­fet with its large, glass, bell-shaped cloche, hous­ing a range of items from leather gloves and musty books to liquorice wheels and pen­cil shav­ings ap­peals to the emo­tions and senses. Such has been pos­i­tive im­pres­sion of many first-time vis­i­tors that some have been known to ex­change their €20 en­try ticket for a €48 an­nual pass.

Much of what the mu­seum has to of­fer how­ever, is ac­ces­si­ble without pay­ing an en­trance fee and as such, you are free to sur­vey the Lat­i­tude20 wine shop with over 800 ref­er­ences from 80 coun­tries, set­tle down to study some of the 2,000 books and mag­a­zines in the first-floor Read­ing Room and ad­mire the view of the city and river from the Belvédère Bar on the top floor. It can also be an op­por­tu­nity to book your place on a 1 hour, wine and cul­ture work­shop, learn about the ex­cur­sions to the vine­yards that are or­ga­nized by the Wine Tours desk and shop at the con­cept bou­tique with its wine re­lated gifts. What­ever at­tracts you to La Cité du Vin, one thing is for sure that your first visit will not be your last.

‘Today wine is sec­ond only to aero­nau­tics in its im­por­tance to the lo­cal econ­omy.‘

‘The aroma buf­fet with its large, glass, bell-shaped cloche, hous­ing a range of items from leather gloves and musty books to liquorice wheels and pen­cil shav­ings ap­peals to the emo­tions and senses.‘

PHOTO JEAN-PIERRE MULLER AFP

Wel­come at Vin­expo.

PHOTO ANAKA / LA CITÉ DU VIN / XTU AR­CHI­TECTS

Read­ing room at La Cité du Vin.

PHOTO GUIL­LAUME BONNAUD

Stun­ning spa­ces, ter­rific ar­chi­tec­ture.

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