In addition to its classic architectural beauties, delicious cuisine and cozy hotels, I joke that Bordeaux it comes down to wine. Here we drink wine, breathe wine and, in the middle of it, we celebrate the wine. Thus, it is clear that the city would have a place entirely dedicated to drinking.
I speak of The City of Wine, “the city of wine” from Bordeaux. Located on the banks of the Garonne River, it is more than a museum: it is a cultural space that honors the more than 2,000 years of the history of the drink, making this tradition that is one of the pillars of the economy of many countries more accessible.
Thus, the Cité du Vin represents the history of wine world, its cultural and universal dimensions. It’s almost like a Disneyland for someone who, like me, is a drink lover.
Opened in 2016, the fascination starts outside: its architecture is bold and contemporary, creating a super contrast with the classic buildings throughout the city. The structure is full of shapes and movement, resembling a large decanter.
Everything refers to wine, but in a modern way. Twisted vines, the wine swirling in a glass, the swirls of the Garonne… There are many shapes that its impressive façade recalls, designed by architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières.
The gold of its glass panels shines at dusk, gaining photogenic contours, and recalls the color found on the facades of historic buildings in Bordeaux. Its interior is also marked by movement: the stairs, the rounded halls and the basement with numerous labels, for example, make us feel this dynamic.
There are more than 13 thousand m², ten floors and 20 thematic areas that make up the museum. Proving to be a living space for knowledge, events, classes, workshops and tastings take place here.
There are two types of exhibitions at the Cité du Vin: one permanent and the other temporary. The exhibition that does not go out of print offers an interesting tour of vineyards around the world, in which it plays with our senses. With the help of a device with multimedia guide delivered at the entrance (Portuguese is not among the languages), different smells, textures, sounds and visual aspects are mixed in the immersion of the history of wine and its role in civilization.
Its cultural part is what fascinated me the most. Through the interactivity of smartphones and digital tables, both adults and children have fun and leave the Cité du Vin with learning, which encompasses how to make a drink, its terroirs, its past and its importance for the present day.
Geography, history, topography, climate: there are several facets of knowledge that grapes and wine can show us, all highlighted in the museum. One of the most interesting aspects is that Bordeaux itself features prominently in the exhibition: the city and its intimate connection with wine is narrated by the museum.
Temporary exhibitions also have their place guaranteed, always dialoguing in some way with the essence of the museum. For 2022, for example, the Cité du Vin will stage “Picasso, the effervescence of shapes”, between the months of April and August. The exhibition talks about the place of wine and spirits in the work of Pablo Picasso in his paintings, drawings, ceramics and films.
Tasting and gastronomy
The best is at the end: the tasting! The experience culminates at the eighth-floor gazebo, where we can enjoy a view of the city while enjoying a glass of wine – already included in the €20 regular ticket.
The museum has partnerships with several wine regions around the world, so we can sample wines from a regularly updated selection of around twenty bottles. Children are left out of this, but they have at their disposal a variety of grape juices. Called Belvedere, the space is highlighted with a chandelier made from thousands of bottles and a 10 meter long oak counter.
But one of the most interesting areas of the Cité du Vin is its wine House. baptized of Latitude20 it has more than 14,000 bottles and 800 wines from over 70 countries, including some unexpected examples, such as Azerbaijan, Tahiti, Bali, among others.
In Brazil, for now, there are two labels: Pizzato Fausto Merlot 2018 and Lídio Carraro Dádivas Chardonnay 2014, both from Rio Grande do Sul. It is impressive to see the diversity of labels and the bold architecture of the cellar, where wines can be purchased for prices ranging between €5 and €50.
As wine always invites us to taste good food, the museum has two restaurants: a brasserie and snack bar on the ground floor, which is a continuation of the cellar, and a refined restaurant on the seventh floor with a panoramic view of the whole of Bordeaux, the Restaurant Le 7, which has a seasonal menu made with regional products – washed down with a lot of wine.
In addition to all the areas mentioned, the museum also has a boutique with books, clothes and other items, where the entrance is connected to the street, with no need to pay to enter.
The Cité du Vin is a huge space that pays homage to one of the region’s greatest treasures. Thus, it is recommended that you devote at least an entire afternoon to its enjoyment. Once here, we understand that wine goes beyond drinking: it is one of the representatives of the art of good living.
The City of Wine
Address: Esplanade de Pontac, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France
Tickets: from €20 for adults. Children under 18 from €9. Children under 6 do not pay.
More information on the official website: https://www.laciteduvin.com/en
Reference: CNN Brasil