A new 'interactive tasting bar' opened in the centre of town on Thursday night, very close to the Grand Theatre, that I think is going to fast become an essential destination in Bordeaux.
Called the Wine Gallery, it offers visitors the chance to sample many of the region's most famous wines, that would normally cost hundreds of pounds a bottle - so Margaux, Lafite, Latour, Haut Brion, Mouton, Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Leoville Les Cas... pretty much everything except Petrus and Le Pin (they assure me at least Petrus is on the way!).
They are kept fresh through six Enomatic tasting machines, using nitrogen gas to preserve against oxidation. I wrote about it for Decanter here:
Thirty to forty bottles will be available at any time for tasting in either 2.5cl, 5cl or 7.5cl with prices starting at €2 for a small sample of chateaux such as Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte 2006, €5 for Chateau La Conseillante 2004, and going up to €38 for Chateau Ausone 2006.
All the first growths are available at under €30.
There will also be an interactive element - the now standard-issue blog http://maxbordeaux.blogspot.com/, twitter (@MaxBordeaux) and facebook acccounts to keep track of Max, a young Bordelais negociant/wine lover who is part of the team behind the venture.
Plus there is an music menu that accompanies the wine - you can let the dj (fred beneix of http://www.myspace.com/wine4melomanes ) know what wine you are drinking, and there will be music to accompany. On Thursday, these were:
1-Tow The Line by Nick Drake (2004) with Château Leoville Barton 2004
2-Kind Of Sunshine by Nicola Conte (2004) with Château Pontet Canet 2004
3-Beautiful Babies by Plantlife with Château Palmer 2004
4-Golden by Jill Scott (2004) with Château La Lagune 2004
5-La Ritournelle by Sebastien Tellier (2004) with Château Cos d'Estournel 2004
6-Shallows (A Shade Of Jade) by Laïka (2004) with Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse 2004
7-Warm sound by Zero 7 (2004) with Château Leoville Las Cases 2004
8-Silver & fire by M. Craft (2006) with Château Cheval Blanc 2006
9-The Dreamer by Jose James (2006) with Château Mission Ht Brion 2006
10-Forefathers by Marcina Arnold (2006) with Château La Lagune 2006
My pre-paid card on Thursday had 25 euros credit (you can get them in 25, 50 or 75 euros) so I had a Conseillante 2004 (5 euros) and a Pontet Canet 2006 (3 euros) - both in the smallest 2.5cl sample size. I have saved the rest of the credits for the next time, when I plan to top up and go for Ausone!!
It's open 7 days a week and is open to everyone. The pay-as-you-go card method also means that it can be adapted - there are wines that start from 2 euros.
Max Bordeaux/The Wine Gallery, 14 cours de l'Intendance, 33000 Bordeaux. http://maxbordeaux.com/