A wine tasting experience like no other: Richard Esling, February 6

If you want the best tasting experience of the world class wines of Bordeaux, then take a city break to one of the world’s wine capitals.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 4:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 4:44 pm
A Max Bordeaux Enomatic machine

The majestic port city of Bordeaux in south-west France is the perfect place for a three- or four-night break for wine lovers, or lovers of all kinds come to that.

This iconic, romantic city has been transformed in recent years, with a massive clean-up of the stately buildings and the introduction of a modern tram network, which has taken nearly all the traffic out of the city centre.

Easily accessible from Gatwick with BA or Easyjet, an autonomous wine tasting trip to Bordeaux can be easily achieved, sampling some of the best wines in the world without even leaving the fabulous city itself. With a vast selection of restaurants, wine-bars and other eateries, lunch or dinner is never a problem, all naturally serving a good selection of the local wines.

For total immersion in Bordeaux culture, lunch at La Brasserie Bordelaise on Rue Saint Remi is a must. A real ‘institution’, the clientele is a mix of tourists and locals, in an authentic and lively atmosphere, the walls lined with bottles of Bordeaux wines. Part of the Maison Lascombes group of eight restaurants in the Bordeaux region, their ‘raison d’etre’ can be summed up by a quote from the epicurean Auguste Escoffier: ‘To make something good, you need to make something really good’. With a list of more than a hundred Bordeaux wines, with a dozen or so by the glass at very reasonable prices and a total range of hundreds of wines, a visit to La Brasserie Bordelaise is ‘un vrai bonheur’!

But if you’ve ever had a hankering to know what the top Bordeaux wines taste like, those which sell at over a hundred euros per bottle – and more – Max Bordeaux is ready to educate your palate, without the need for taking out a second mortgage. Tucked away down a gallery off the main street Cours de l’Intendance, Max Bordeaux offers a tasting experience like no other. Using an array of the latest high-tech tasting equipment, such wines as Clos Fourtet 2015 Premier Grand Cru Classé Saint Emilion, or Chateau Montrose 2011 Saint Estephe Grand Cru Classé, are all available to taste.

The cost of tasting samples varies from one euro to 35 euros for a 2.5cl portion, depending on the wine and the vintage. The Enomatic tasting machines are operated by a form of credit card, purchased at Max Bordeaux and ‘credited’ with as much or as little as the visitor wishes to spend. Three different portion sizes are available with prices varying accordingly.

The establishment was created in 2009 by the Norwegian Henning Thoresen, who wished to make the Grand Cru Classé wines available for tasting and by the glass.

A unique and innovative concept, in an ultra-modern setting, what better way to end your day exploring the streets of Bordeaux, than a glass of Chateau Guiraud Premier Grand Cru Classé Sauternes?

Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Follow him on Twitter @richardwje.

West Sussex entertainment listings, Thursday to Wednesday, February 6-12. Click here to read more.