The Mayor of Paris is selling 4,000 bottles of wine and spirits owned by the City of Paris – many amassed during Jacques Chirac’s lavish two-decade reign in the town hall.
The collection, which experts have valued at €500,000, reportedly includes such sought-after wines as Château Pétrus 1990 and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1986, both worth over €1400 a bottle. Proceeds will be added to the city’s coffers for 2006.
The 7,000-bottle cellar of the Hôtel de Ville is kept for official receptions for visiting dignitaries, and other state occasions.
But Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, a socialist, said that it would be in the public’s best interest to sell the oldest and best wines before they begin to decline, as he ‘cannot envision any Mayoral event that would justify the expense’ of serving such wines.
He added that the cellars, which are close to the Seine, could potentially flood, leading to an irreplaceable loss.
The sale will take place by public auction on 20 and 21 October at the city’s municipal finance offices in the Marais. The bottles will be on view from 19 October.
Some are seeing a political slant in the sale, considering it an attempt to highlight the prodigal spending habits of previous administrations – specifically those of Jacques Chirac, mayor from 1977 to 1995.
The socialists requested an official investigation after a report revealed that he and his wife spent equivalent of €2.13m on food and wine between 1987 and 1995. The case was dismissed.
Written by Maggie Rosen