Max Bordeaux: Wine Tasting Gallery Celebrates First Anniversary

Becky Sue Epstein

Wines from the most famous châteaux in this region sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle, but at Max Bordeaux you can get a taste of many of them for an affordable €8-10 (around $12-14). The wine gallery's look is both ultra-modern and warming, with wood and glass dominating the interior.

Assistant managers Anne Guillouzic and Jérémie Daugy at Max Bordeaux, October 2010.
Set into the walls and in columns dotted about the cleanly designed space are half a dozen machines that hold eight wines each. An Enomatic nitrogen system keeps the wines fresh for 2 to 3 weeks.

Insert a card in the machine above a chosen bottle, position a glass and push a button and a taste is dispensed in one of three sizes: 25 ml., 50 ml. or 75 ml. (just under an ounce, under two ounces, 2.5 ounces). The smallest level tastes range from €1 to €30—the most expensive right now being the prestigious (and stratospherically-priced) Château Ausone.

Currently, the store is featuring 48 wines of the 2006 vintage, which makes it possible for discerning customers to create their horizontal tastings. One section also houses "discovery wines," rare bottles to entice wine lovers, like Château Margaux's unusual white Pavillon Blanc. Or Château Palmer's under-the-radar "Historical XIX Century," which adds Syrah to a Bordeaux grape blend, as Bordeaux winemakers did historically to "strengthen" the local wine.

Max Bordeaux also sells bottles of the tastable wines, as well as its own line of white, rosé and red under the "XVIII Bordeaux" label, which will be augmented by a Sauternes-style wine from Cadillace for the Holidays. In addition, the shop has an agreement with several nearby restaurants whereby wines purchased at Max Bordeaux will be served without any corkage fee.

According to assistant managers Anne Guillouzic and Jérémie Daugy, the €25 minimum purchase card appeals to both tourists and locals because it can be used either all at once or over time. Opened a year ago by wine broker Henning Thoresen of the Bordeaux Winebank, Max Bordeaux is situated on a high-end shopping street, half a block from a central square bounded by the luxuriously renovated Regent Hotel and the opera house.

  Max Bordeaux, 14 Cours l'Intendance, 33000 Bordeaux, France, open Mon-Sat. 11 am to 8 pm. www.maxbordeaux.com

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