French government spends €50k on cellar

15th October, 2013 by Rupert Millar

The French government has spent €50,000 on regional French wines to restock the cellar of the Elysée Palace after a sell-off earlier this year.

Francois Hollande

French president, François Hollande

In May, an auction of part of the Elysée cellar was held in Paris and attracted a great many Chinese and other Asian buyers, who swooped on lots such as 1961 Angélus, 1936 Latour and 1990 Pétrus.

Over 1,000 bottles, a tenth of the cellar, were auctioned off in an echo of the UK government’s earlier sale which was conducted in order to make the cellar self-funding.

In total the sale made some €500,000. Although the majority of the money has been returned to the public purse as intended, the latest budget (released towards the end of last month) showed that around €50,000 had gone into restocking the cellar with wines from regions such as Alsace and the Languedoc – but also Bordeaux crus.

Virginie Routis, sommelier at the Elysée, explained to French daily Le Parisien, that 30% of the new wines would be Bordeaux grands crus, 30% “good wine” and the remaining 40% producers from various regions, “who deserve to be better known”.

France is battling a huge public debt which, at €2 trillion, the most recent budget said would consume 95.1% of GDP in 2014.

Debt servicing costs, currently around €45 billion, will rise to over €46bn next year.

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