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Paris Mayor's Wine Collection Up for Auction

Posted by perle0 on 2006-07-03 16:27:47 (3823 views)

Thousands of bottles of vintage wine amassed by Jacques Chirac during his lavish two-decade reign as mayor of Paris are to be auctioned off from the town hall's vast cellar.

The majority of the cellar's 5,000 most prestigious bottles, including several 1990 Château Pétrus, worth more than $1800 each, are due to be sold in the autumn.

In all, the current Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, expects the sale, which includes 191 bottles of 1976 Krug champagne, to raise over $630,000.

Last year a team of government auditors indexed the collection and concluded that housing such expensive wine was a liability considering the "very high price of certain bottles," and the risk that bottles could be damaged if the nearby Seine burst its banks.

The auditors noted that the amount of wine drunk at Paris town hall receptions in 2004 had dropped to just over 15,000 bottles--half the level it was at the end of the Chirac era, despite an equal number of receptions.

"There is a disproportionate stock compared to consumption," they concluded.

President Chirac and his wife, Bernadette, were known for their love of good food and fine wine, are said to have spent $2.75 million of taxpayers' money on these between 1987 and 1995. Since taking over in 2001, mayor Mr Delanoë has cut the wine and champagne budget by 65%.

Bernard Bled, a long-time political ally of Mr Chirac and his successor, Jean Tiberi, was outraged at the imminent sale of prized bottles. "These wines were bought in order to keep our rank, as capital of France, in global prestige," he said. "I chose them myself. I am devastated that they haven't been drunk."

And some people wonder why the French are distilling their wine into ethanol. When even ther French consider French wine too pricey to just drink, that's a sign that either the French are turning away from wine, or that they should consider lowering their prices.

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