Wine culture in Bordeaux
An immersive sensorial wine experience at La Cité du Vin
See, hear, smell, taste and experience. La Cité du Vin appeals to all of the senses. Here, you can experience wine like almost nowhere else in the world. A journey into France's wine country, to the city of wine.
La Cité du Vin in the shape of a huge wine decanter nestles on the shore of the Garonne, glistening yellowing gold on the skyline of the harbour district. Since May 2016, this vast museum of wine growing has been enchanting visitors from all over the world – from the UK, the USA, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, China and, of course, France.
A large indoor multimedia exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to drink in the experiences of vintners, sommeliers and wine experts from all over the world. These are people whose lives have been shaped by wine for generations. In short films, they explain Chardonnays, Rieslings, Syrah and the grape varieties which are, notably, used to make famous Bordeaux wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. They also describe how the wine makes the journey from vine to bottle, what challenges there are on the way and how beautiful they find wine tasting – a new experience every time.
Lemon, cedar, cinnamon, honey, leather. Visitors have fun discovering the aromas in the wines. They place their noses over funnel on a glass cover so the objects and ingredients under the glass covers tantalise their nostrils. The scents hint at what aromas a wine will go on to develop in the mouth: honey, chocolate, brush wood. The smell incites expectations but only that first sip can reveal the true flavours.
Tantalising the tastebuds
Visitors can taste the wine in the Belvédère, in the very heart of La Cité du Vin. Guides welcome visitors at a 10 m long oak bar and pour 20 different wines – of which 10 are always from Bordeaux. The guides know the wine regions well and are always happy to share their knowledge. Loïc Nibaudeau is a perfect example. He and his colleagues play an important role in creating the perfect wine experience. They are the ones who select the wines every two weeks with the sommelier, ensure the wine bottles are stored at the correct temperature and dress the glasses.
The art of the perfect tasting experience
In order to provide their guests with a flawless wine tasting experience, the guides require top quality wines and top quality glasses – and they must be handled with care. After all, their shine and life span depend completely on the right warewashing technology. The Belvédère's sparkling, odourless glasses are cleaned in four M-iClean U series dishwashing machines by MEIKO. The warewashing specialists in Germany fitted each glasswasher with a reverse osmosis module to prevent imperfect rims, stains and smears by removing almost all of the minerals from the wash water.
For clients who want their glasses and dishes to sparkle, improving the water quality is essential – and that calls for demineralisation or osmosis.
Some days, La Cité du Vin welcomes up to 1,200 visitors but nobody has to wait long for their glass of wine. Guides and glasswashers work together seamlessly, with the standard wash cycle on the M-iClean U compact glasswasher lasting just 210 seconds. The integrated heat recovery system pitches in to keep most of the steam inside the machine, reducing humidity and keeping guides and visitors happy, as well as protecting the oak bar. Glasses are also dry and back in circulation in a jiffy, sparkling clean and odour free.
We asked Loïc Nibaudeau what he most values about working with the M-iClean U glasswasher. Smiling, he replied: ‘I like working with this machine because it is easy to use. To start, select or stop a wash cycle, I just need two buttons. It's so simple!’ Just like that, he was already reaching for the next glass, pouring a Bordeaux and making the next visitor happy. There is practically nowhere else in the world where you can experience wine so close up and authentic, using all of the senses like you do here.