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The wider picture

Cutting-Edge Cellars

Across the Bordelais, new wine cellars designed by the world’s greatest architects are cropping up at every turn. A race to modernise that flatters both eye and ego, a source of wonder along any wine-lover’s walk. Here’s a tour of transformations on some exquisite properties.
Text Jean Dusaussoy  Icone temps de lectureEstimated reading time 4 min

The world’s greatest architects, structures of spectacular shapes (and lavish budgets!): in the late 2000s, the vineyards of Bordeaux chose to break with the design tradition of the regal, restrained winery.

This phenomenon has impacted dozens of estates, from the most celebrated occupants of both shores to lesser-known properties, a trend likely quickened by the competitive spirit of the very exclusive club of crus classés. For most, the primary objective is to update their image, the better with which to appeal to a new international clientele eager for the legendary Gironde bottles (and whose interest has recently led to a jump in ventes en primeur, or wine futures).

Others have also milked the opportunity to surf the wave of wine tourism, widely practiced in the New World and in which France has been lagging behind. Wine-loving and wine-curious folk flock from all walks of life to taste their nectars, explore their cellars, gaze at their vats, stroll through their vineyards or lunch nearby – in short, to experience, up close and personal, the pinnacle of French savoir-vivre.

Château Margaux

Two centuries of architecture have ensured premier grand cru classé Château Margaux maintained its prestigious rank. In 2015, Britain’s Norman Foster met the technical and aesthetic challenges of the 19th-century property with superb design choices.

In short, to experience, up close and personal, the pinnacle of French savoir-vivre.