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Life

City of Wine

Escape to the heart of Bordeaux, where the magnificent Cité du Vin carries you away on a multi-sensory adventure.

Dubbed a 'Disneyland for adults', France's Cité du Vin - recently opened in Bordeaux - is dedicated to the history of wine. But instead of tea cups and roller coasters, at this wine 'theme park' you'll get your thrills from wine glasses and drink coasters. Costing a budget-busting 81 million Euros ($AUD 116 million) and taking more than two decades to become reality, the multi-storey Cité du Vin is a truly impressive temple to viticulture.

The building itself (designed by Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières from the Parisian agency XTU) is an architectural triumph. Featuring thousands of glass and metallic glazed panels, the imposing aluminium structure is all shimmering curves. Evoking the swirl of wine moving in a glass, its sculptural form also reflects the undulating Garonne river, which the building overlooks from the city's left bank.

This mecca for wine-lovers is not just aimed at connoisseurs; the Cité du Vin hopes to make the vinous tipple accessible to everyone via a playful, hands-on journey of discovery. It claims to be the world's largest wine museum, offering visitors an immersive experience through the world's wine culture and its universal heritage.

"I don't like to call it a museum," says Sylvie Cazes, president of the Foundation for the Culture and Civilisations of Wine, "because the word suggests a bunch of dusty collections. This is completely interactive and unlike anything seen before."

That goes for its wine collection too, which doesn't limit itself to the Grands Crus of Bordeaux.

"When the project started some 20 years ago, there was a Bordeaux focus," says Sylvie, "but over time it evolved to include wines from everywhere." The ground floor wine boutique houses more than 14,000 bottles of 800 different wines from some 80 countries. There are even drops from unlikely destinations such as Ethiopia, Indonesia and Tahiti.
If you're not ready to splurge on a bottle, some wines can be tasted (for a corkage fee) at the bar.

 

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However, it's on the upper floors of the Cité du Vin where the real fun starts. Go beyond a wine's taste to discover other aspects of its character during one of the workshop sessions. These take place in sleek, multi-sensory spaces featuring 360 degree projections, sounds and a scent diffusion system. 
Far from being straight-up wine-tasting classes, the experience is casual and convivial. "They're focused on the spirit of sharing, as everyone has a different relationship with wine", says Sylvie.

Meanwhile, in a bid to keep the local clientele coming back, the Cité du Vin shows temporary exhibitions in the Salle des Colonnes, and all year long, the 250-seater Thomas Jefferson auditorium plays host to concerts, film screenings and debates.

 

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The headline visitor attraction is the permanent exhibition, where the interactive multimedia experience is a real feast for the senses and a glorious celebration of every facet of wine.

With 19 themed sections, the Cité du Vin has all bases covered, from the lands that produce the grapey goodness, and winegrowers around the world, to wine's influence on thousands of years of society, and its connection to the arts. Each display is fascinating, thanks to the clever use of 3D imagery, aroma diffusion, or video game technology. Not forgetting punters not yet old enough to enjoy wine; the Cité du Vin reaches out to younger visitors with fun, age-appropriate displays.

The museum's highlights range from giant video screens looping mesmerising vistas of the world's winemaking regions, and the 'getting to know you' feature with (virtual) winegrowers from all corners of the globe, to the 'meet the experts' panel where you can seek one-on-one advice from wine professionals (again, in virtual form). Whether you listen to a Michelin-starred chef or a respected sommelier, their answers on how to buy wine, how to serve wine, and whether wine awards mean anything, may surprise you.

Refuelling takes place on the 7th floor where Le 7 restaurant offers sweeping views over the Garonne and the Port de la Lune. Chef Nicolas Lascombes rustles up his brand of world cuisine with a French twist using seasonal and regional produce. Wash it all down with your choice of 500 wines from 50 countries.

Indeed, la pièce de résistance is the Belvédère, the rooftop wine bar, which boasts a stunning panorama of Bordeaux. This is where you wrap up your visit (only those who have paid museum entry fees can access it) while sipping on a glass of wine included in the ticket price. Soak up the views from the 10 metre-long oak bar, or gape at the 4,000 glass bottles suspended from the ceiling. Tasters can choose from a regularly rotating selection of five Bordeaux wines and 15 from around the world.

As to why the Cité du Vin would open its doors in Bordeaux, it couldn't have happened anywhere else, says Sylvie. "It's a big city with the most famous wine-producing region in the world, and the biggest producer of AOC wine."

The founder of the Cité du Vin, Alain Juppé, who is also the mayor of Bordeaux (and a 2017 French Presidential hopeful) has called the museum his 'Guggenheim'. An ambitious claim, but it's certainly gone some way to cementing the World Heritage listed city's status as the unrivalled world capital of wine.

 

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Take the wine theme all the way with a luxurious stay at Les Sources de Caudalie, an intimate, five-star boutique hotel nestled in Bordeaux wine country.

Indulge your tastebuds at one of three on site restaurants, including the magnificent Michelin-starred La Grand' Vigne.

Take a guided tour of the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte , just steps from the hotel, or borrow a bike for a leisurely ride through the sun-dappled vineyards. The cherry (or grape) on top is the spa offering exclusive vinotherapy wine-based treatments.

Book at sources-caudalie.com , rooms from 240 Euros.

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Cycling the Clare Valley Riesling Trail
Words by Elliot Watt on 6 Nov 2017
Discover the fun of cycling the Clare Valley Riesling Trail with Wine Selectors Membership Consultant, Elliot Watt, as he shares all his tips for touring through this spectacular wine region . Exercise and wine don’t usually go together, but, when you think about it, it's actually a genius combination. You are essentially cancelling out the damage done by one with the other. Well, in theory, anyway. Now a word of warning. We’re in no way suggesting you empty a bottle of wine into your drink bottle and hit the gym. There are far more attractive and much more appropriate places to achieve this symbiotic activity. A leisurely two-hour drive north of Adelaide will see you in Australia’s epicentre for Riesling , the Clare Valley, where you’ll find the Riesling Trail. This 35-kilometre-long cycling and walking track follows the path of the old rail line that sliced through the hills before it was irreparably damaged by the 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires. Today, the trail takes you past some of the region’s finest Riesling producers, so get ready to sip, sweat and cycle your way through the Clare Valley.  Clare
It all begins with a visit to the Riesling Trail Bike Hire to collect your trusty steed. Kent will size you up with the perfect bike and give you the local lowdown on the trail. Once in the saddle, an easy 12-minute ride north on the trail will take you to your first destination, Knappstein Enterprises Winery and Brewery . Originally established as the Enterprises Brewery in 1878, the current winery was installed by Clare Valley icon Tim Knappstein in the late 1960s. In 2006, 89 years after the original taps went dry, the brewing of beer started up once again in this heritage building. For Riesling lovers, definitely look to the Single Vineyard range, which is a perfect expression of the diversity in Clare Riesling. However, if you prefer a beer, then the delicious Knappstein Reserve Larger will quench your thirst and replenish the tank for the next leg of the journey.  Sevenhill and Penworth
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With a full stomach and renewed energy, it shouldn’t take long to reach the next town of Leasingham and the home of Claymore Wines . Here you can wash down lunch with a glass of Dark Side of The Moon or Bittersweet Symphony . No idea what I’m talking about? Cleverly, the majority of their wines are labelled after hit songs from a bygone era . However, there are no gimmicks when it comes to the wines with some seriously good juice going on here. Sing your way through the range, find your favourite and sit down with a glass accompanied by a board of local South Australian Cheese. For a second in time, you will completely forget about your aching muscles and the fact you still have to ride home.  The Riesling Trail comes to an end a further five clicks south at the town of Auburn. Unfortunately, I cannot tell the tale of Auburn as Leasingham is as far as my legs would carry me. Some say, namely my wife, it was the pizza that lead to my ultimate demise however that’s neither here nor there.  Now begins the journey home, although it's not over yet. As any good bicycle wine tour strategist knows, you’re going to get thirsty, so Stone Bridge in Sevenhill is the perfect rehydration stop. Crafting not only exceptional Riesling but another 14 wines from 7 different grape varieties, Stone Bridge has something to quench any thirst. The aftermath Once off the bike if you stop moving things begin to hurt, the wine wears off and the lactic acid sets in. The only solution is to manoeuvre yourself directly to Seed Winehouse and Kitchen in Clare . Immersed in the simplistic stone and natural timber of the old chaff mill, you begin to imagine you are somewhere in rural Italy about to dine on local rustic cuisine. However, Head Chef Guy Parkinson is no Nonna, he may be better. Offering sophisticated A la Carte and degustation options, the menu highlights local produce with a wine list to reflect. Nearly 200 local and international wines will make the decision hard, add in 47 Gin choices and the mind begins to boggle. Whatever your decision there is no doubt any indulgence is guilt free. You have literally burned off three Big Macs during the ride so sit back, reward yourself and reflect on the beauty of the Clare Valley and the amazing wines it has to offer. Your Quick Guide to the Clare Valley Riesling Trail Wineries Knappstein Enterprises Winery and Brewery Mitchell Wines Claymore Wines Stone Bridge Restaurant Seed Winehouse and Kitchen in Clare Watervale General Store Bike Hire Riesling Trail Bike Hire
Life
California Dreaming
Words by Paul Diamond on 27 Jun 2017
No longer just the domain of superstars of the screen, Los Angeles is adding some new leading lights to its food and wine scene. As the second most populated city in America, Los Angeles is often the entry point for Australians wanting to explore the home of the brave. For food and wine lovers, the City of Angels is often a pit stop on the way to the urbane dining rooms of San Francisco with the perception being that fine  food and wine play second fiddle to the lure of Hollywood. But things have recently changed, and LA’s food and drink scene now dazzles as much as any movie star. So it’s well worth spending a few days exploring the refreshed food culture; from the high end down, there’s plenty to taste. But first some advice. If you want to check out the celebrity haunts or local favourites like Venice at sunset, you’ll need to hire a car. Because while getting your head around driving on the right after 15+ hours on a plane can be daunting, the public transport is even more so. But once you’ve secured some wheels, avoid the 405 anywhere near the morning and afternoon peaks, otherwise you’ll find yourself in the granddaddy of all traffic jams and LA drivers take no prisoners. For those really wanting to experience the LA bubble, look no further than Beverly Hills. Originally built as a farming ranch, the Hills became its own city at the beginning of the first World War. When compared to the rest of Los Angeles, it’s like Beverly Hills has its own atmosphere and it’s easy to see why the rich and famous choose 90210 as their postcode. Low Key Luxury
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If $10k handbags and Ferraris appeal, then a walk along Rodeo Drive will have you wide eyed. Considered one of the most exclusive shopping strips in the world, Rodeo Drive is where all the stars go. Giorgio, Valentino and Tiffany keep Versace company alongside a well-heeled Jimmy Choo. But when you’re all shopped out and in need of more wine, a day trip to Santa Barbara is a must. Head north up the 101 past Oxnard and Ventura and you will soon find yourself in the downtown area of this relaxed Spanish-style town nestled underneath the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains. Regarded as the American Riviera, Santa Barbera has a Mediterranean climate that makes the production of a wide range of wine varieties possible. Most of the vineyards, wineries and cellar doors are located up in the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Valleys to the north, however, there’s a cluster of great cellar doors in the heart of Santa Barbara. The  Urban Wine Train  boasts 29 cellar doors where you can taste an impressive range of varieties and styles. From classic Euro-style Shiraz and Cabernet to new world Chardonnay and Pinot, rustic Tempranillos and Italian varietals of every shape and style. Santa Barbara’s wine offering is expansive and when you experience its warmth and hospitality, you’ll wish you had more time. Aussies Doing Us Proud
Back south in LA, try to get a booking at  Maude  and see how Curtis Stone is getting on after winning  LA Weekly’s Best Restaurant in LA in 2015  . With an intimate 24 seats, Maude offers a ten-course  chef’s tasting menu that features a different seasonal ingredient every month. From limes in January to truffles in December, it’s an innovative approach that’s seen the culinary team create over 1000 dishes so far. Read our recent interview with Curtis Stone. Another Australian flying high is Louis Tikaram, the former chef at  Sydney’s Longrain  who’s doing great things with Thai flavours at  EP Asian Eating House  in West Hollywood. With talent like this on offer, Los Angeles is now pumping with vibrant energy and flavour. The over stacked plates of classic Americana and tired European staples of the past have been replaced with exciting and accessible food styles and flavours that reflect the diversity of modern Los Angeles. So while the movie stars of Hollywood might be carefully watching their waists, a trip to modern LA will have you expanding yours.    
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Join us on our Mediterranean cruise with Silversea
With the introduction of its newest ship , Silver Muse, Silversea has lifted the bar for luxury cruising even higher. You can experience it on a bespoke Wine Selectors’ adventure in 2018. When the first Silversea ship was launched over 20 years ago, owner Antonio Lefebvre d’Ovidio advised his son, Manfredi, to always keep their family values and traditions close to his heart and not be swayed by ephemeral trends. Now Chairman of Silversea Cruises, Manfredi heeded his father’s words and is incredibly proud of Silversea’s current status as a leader in luxury travel. So it is with immense pleasure that Manfredi introduces the newest ship, Silver Muse. A work of art
A divine inspirational work of art of the highest order, Silver Muse sees the Silversea fleet expanded to nine ships and the bar in the intimate-luxury cruising market raised to its highest level yet. Boutique in size, accommodating 596 guests, Silver Muse can visit ports that larger ships simply cannot access, and retains an intimate, cosy, home away from home feeling. Yet she is also large enough to offer the superlative quality of luxury service and options for which Silversea are famous. While the destinations Silver Muse visits offer plenty of opportunities for active exploration, back on board, exclusive new additions will ensure you’re sailing in ultimate luxury and relaxation. Bespoke savoir beds
They were the choice of Sir Winston Churchill, Giacomo Puccini and Marilyn Monroe, and now Savoir Beds will ensure guests sailing in the Owner, Royal and Grand suites of Silver Muse enjoy a superb night’s sleep, too. Savoir’s handmade bespoke mattresses and toppers, created using the finest natural materials and skilled craftsmanship, offer a variation in support from soft to firm, customisable to guest preference. With their cloud-like comfort, you’ll never want your trip to end! Spa sanctuary Silversea has redefined beauty and wellness on board Silver Muse with the introduction of Zàgara Beauty Spa – a uniquely artistic and holistic sensory experience. Zàgara melds its beautiful Italian heritage with a 360º mind and body philosophy to evoke awareness and nurture well-being. A sanctuary of leisure and comfort, this elegant respite is the gateway to serenity. Complementing a choreographed menu of services that feature award-winning products and innovation, the unique Zàgara concept also encourages guests to create their own spa experience. Blending artistry through a myriad of visual and experiential elements with holistic therapies, Zàgara promises peace and beauty at every touch point. Be immersed in art Another exclusive to Silver Muse is the all-new Arts Café. Evoking the ambience of an art gallery, in this unique space, guests are able to relax and unwind, surrounded by some of the most exquisite pieces of art. The featured exhibitions are varied, exciting and frequently changing, including paintings and sculptures from a broad range of talented artists. The venue’s distinctive design offers a relaxing getaway with daytime cuisine in the form of a café and deli-bar. Come early evening, the venue transforms into a lively, evening cocktail lounge, where guests can retreat to one of the comfortable chairs, grab a drink and relax, while taking in the incredible view. Exquisite attention to detail
While iconic destinations and grand vistas are obviously impressive, often its the smallest details that have the biggest impact. Silver Muse’s exceptional guest-to-staff ratio, including butlers in every suite, means that someone is always on hand to look after the details, so you don’t have to. As Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio says, “We believe that Silver Muse is quite simply, our best ship ever.” Register now! +  Exclusive gourmet tour
Join Selector and Silversea Cruises for an exclusive gourmet tour aboard the Silver Muse in September 2018. This private tour with an intimate group will be hosted by Selector publisher Paul Diamond and offers an unique food + wine activities beyond the tourist trail. Setting off from Barcelona, you’ll visit iconic ports such as Ibiza, Antibes, Monte Carlo, and Civitavecchia, enjoying highlights such as guided Balearic food and wine experiences and a hosted lunch at the two Michelin starred Restaurant Joël Robuchon Monte Carlo. To register your interest, call 02 4941 3044 or email editor@selectormagazine.com.au
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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