Kim Jong-un train features ‘cases of Bordeaux and Burgundy’
Cases of Bordeaux and Burgundy wine are rumoured to feature in Kim Jong-un’s train, which recently headed to Russia in order to meet Vladimir Putin.
The train, which was originally the transportation of choice for former leader Kim Jong-il, has a large catering staff, which ensures all manner of cuisines, including Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French dishes, as well as many cases of wines from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions, it is claimed.
A Russian official called Konstantin Pulikovsy who travelled through Russia with the former leader in 2011 made the claims, stating that cases of the wine were flown in from Paris.
Whether Kim Jong-un has continued the trend is unknown, but there have also been rumours that he is a big fan of French wine, consuming as much as 10 bottles of Bordeaux a night.
The claims are from a Seoul-based academic called Dr Choi Jinwook, who told The Telegraph: “He is drinking fine spirits and wines like a fish. I heard he is crying after drinking a lot. He is very lonely and under pressure.”
It was claimed in 2010 that Jong-un by a sushi chef who catered to the leader that he was obsessed with fine wines and Swiss cheese, and even dispatched North Korean officials to a culinary school to learn the art of cheese-making, after becoming frustrated with Korean chefs’ inability to replicate European flavours.
The flow of fine wine into North Korea has increased significantly in the last year, with department stores hiring professional sommeliers to source premium expressions for their customers. More retailers are signing deals with high-end producers overseas to ship their wines exclusively to the North Korean market.
It follows imports of whisky to South Korea leaping by 70% in 2021, as outlined by data from the Korea Customs Service.
It means that fine wine and spirits are more readily available, even to those North Koreans who don’t have the nation’s coffers at their fingertips.
Sources say that Kim Jong-un is going through a midlife crisis, and is beset with anxiety over fears he will follow in the footsteps of his father, who was himself plagued by health issues.
Insiders say that current leader Kim Jong-un is determined to stay alive and in power. “His goal is very simple – to die a natural death in his palace, decades later. He wants to stay in power,” said Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul.