In the middle of October I presented a masterclass of Georgian wines at the brand-new and impressive Cité du Vin in Bordeaux. Its external form, said to be an attempt to recreate something intrinsically formless, like wine, may not be to everyone's taste but the conception and execution of the multi-media and multi-sensory exhibits are excellent, so well thought out that the exhibition space should appeal not only to those already fascinated by and knowledgeable about wine but also to those new to this wonderful world of endlessly changing delight and pleasure.
Georgia won the opportunity to be the first in a series of annual temporary exhibitions devoted to a specific country. It was both fascinating and very, very beautiful, and had required the transportation of a vast number of unique and extremely valuable artefacts, some of which are shown in my photo below. If you are ever in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, don't miss the Georgian National Museum, which has a whole section on wine (including one of the clay pots that played such a significant role in the recent breakthrough discovery of evidence of winemaking 8,000 years ago on which I reported yesterday) as well as some of the most wonderful treasures in gold that I have ever seen.
Although the exhibition Géorgie – Berceau de Viticulture (berceau is French for 'cradle') has just ended after a run of three months, I would highly recommend the Cité du Vin if you are in Bordeaux – great value at €20 a ticket. There are also tastings on Saturday afternoons but mostly, it seemed, at a fairly basic level and generally in French. Programme details are on their website.
On the top floor, in the Belvedère restaurant, there are stunning 360º views over Bordeaux and a bar where you are allowed to taste one wine from their regularly changing selection that covers just about everywhere in the world. I couldn't help thinking that I'd like to try more than one wine but apparently this wouldn't be possible because they are not allowed to sell wine. (The tasting of one wine is included in the ticket price.) If you do want to buy a bottle, on the ground floor there's also an independently run wine shop which has an impressively eclectic selection from around the world that reflects the thoroughly international approach of the Cité.