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La Cité du Vin

Along the Garonne River, in a rapidly-gentrifying former industrial area of Bordeaux sits the ultra-modern twisting golden cage-like structure that is known as La Cité du Vin. Part museum, part wine-shop, part interactive experience, part restaurant, this stunning edifice provides lots to do for a half-day or more for those interested the wines of the Bordeaux region.

Designing architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières state that the building is meant to evoke “wine’s soul and liquid nature, gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass and eddies on the Garonne.”

The permanent tour, which meanders through two floors of the tower portion of the structure is an interactive museum/exhibition experience which combines digital and interactive technologies, tactile, visual and aroma components, and leads the visitor through the various spaces with an ipod-like device dubbed the “travel companion”. It takes a couple hours for a decent overview, and is education at many levels of wine and wine-making.

The entry fee includes a visit to the Belvedere at the top of the structure, which we visit after the tour, and where one can taste of a number of regional wines while admiring the 360-degree view of the river and of Bordeaux. Nearby, crossing the Garonne, is the fascinating four-tower high tech Bacalan-Bastide bridge, whose center section lifts on those towers 125 feet to provide passage for large ships entering Bordeaux.

On the ground floor are Latitude20, a wine bar with light food offerings, and Restaurant Le 7. We order a cheese and charcuterie board from the bar, and purchase cards which work at the “wall of Coravin” – several of those glass cases that contain bottles connected to argon gas and spigots. Insert your card, select one of 50 or so wines, the amount you want to taste and the cost, which of course varies by price of wine, is deducted. We sample several, up to a glorious Chateau Haut Brion, which sets the tippler back about $20 for a taste.





photo credits: La Cité du Vin

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