This is a story that I wrote for Decanter last week, and thought I would put up here with some photos. Off to Hong Kong tomorrow, so will post from Vinexpo next week.

The world’s largest Bordeaux wine store has opened in Lafayette Gourmet on Boulevard Haussmann, within the flagship Galeries Lafayette store that is the second most visited destination in Paris after the Eiffel Tower, with 25 million people per year.

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The 250m2 Bordeauxthèque is a joint venture, housed in Galeries Lafayette but owned and run by Duclot, the Bordeaux merchant house owned by Jean Francois Moueix, owner of Pétrus, along with his son Jean. It contains over 12,000 bottles (covering 1,800 references) of red wine, with a small selection of sweet and dry whites. A further 50,000 bottles are stocked in a warehouse in Paris, and there is access to the 5 million bottles in Bordeaux. Prices range from €3.90 for an AC Bordeaux to €20,000 for a Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1945. Every bottle of wine is guaranteed to have come either directly from the chateau, or from Duclot’s cellars in Bordeaux.

‘We were approached by Galeries Lafayette around five years ago to develop this store,’ Jean Moueix, who is due to become president of the group on his father’s retirement in 2011, said. ‘We hope to cater for a range of tastes, as many visitors to this store will have no knowledge of Bordeaux wines. But we also have an unparalleled range of older vintages of the most prestigious chateaux – most of which were released to us by the chateaux themselves.’

These include all the second wines of the first growths – ten vintages of Fort de Latour, six of Carruades – plus a flight of Haut Brion Blanc going back to 1978, 12 vintages of Montrose, 24 vintages of Yquem from 1896 (at €7,500) to 2006. Each of the first growths has 30 vintages on offer, with 32 vintages of Pétrus. The legendary Cheval Blanc 1947 is available at €13,500.

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There is also a wide range of large-format bottles, including Impériales, Jéroboams and Nabuchodonosors. A 15 litre Lynch-Bages 2000 is offered at €7,000.

The Duclot group own two other retail outlets in Bordeaux, plus several warehouse-style stores in Paris. ‘The fact that we are already retailers makes it less politically sensitive for the retail clients who buy from our Bordeaux negociant house. We are not trying to be in competition with them, and we would be careful before opening retail stores in their key markets,’ Moueix said, adding that they would consider opening Bordeauxthèques in the Berlin or Shanghai branches of Galeries Lafayette, or potentially in other luxury department stores worldwide.