Napoleon's wife ignited French love-affair with Bordeaux

  • Thursday 19 November 2009

France’s love-affair with Bordeaux was started by Napoleon's wife Josephine, a new exhibition has revealed.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a 13,286-bottle wine list belonging to Empress Josephine, discovered after her death in 1814, defies the Burgundian fashion of the time, instead being dominated by red Bordeaux.

The handwritten inventory of Empress Josephine’s personal cellar is currently on display in Paris, along with a collection of bottles, crystal glasses and punch bowls.

Amaury Lefebure, director of the National Museum of the Chateaux of Malmaison and Bois-Preau, said that Josephine’s cellar would have been revolutionary during her lifetime.

‘Under the ancient regime, the English were the greatest drinkers of Bordeaux while Louis XVI didn't have a single bottle in his cellar.

‘This very precise inventory of Josephine's cellar, which includes a number of Grands Crus that still exist to our day, gives us a wonderful glimpse of what was served at the empress' table.

‘So we can say that Josephine launched the post-Napoleon fashion for Bordeaux in France,’ said Mr Lefebure.

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