France auctions Elysee Palace wine to restock more modest cellar

Thu May 30, 2013 1:53pm EDT
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - An auction of 1,200 bottles from the wine cellar of France's Elysee presidential palace began on Thursday with most of the proceeds to be invested in younger, more modest wines.

The two-day sale at the Drouot auction house is expected to fetch at least 250,000 euros ($324,200), and palace aides say any cash raised above that level would go into state coffers. France is struggling to lower its soaring deficit and find 60 billion euros in public savings over five years.

"It's the first time the Elysee Palace has decided to sell a part of its wine cellar," Ghislaine Kapandji of auctioneers Kapandji Morhange said.

The sale is dominated by wine from France's internationally prized Bordeaux and Burgundy regions, vintage 1960 to 1990, and includes famous names such as Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac and Montrachet.

A bottle of 1990 Petrus is estimated at about 2,500 euros, while a more modest Meursault can be had for about 50 euros.

Alsatian wine, some cognacs and champagnes will also be up for sale. Many bottles are ready to be drunk immediately.

Britain's government auctioned off vintage French wine from its cellar in March as part of a national austerity drive.

(Reporting by Antony Paone and Alexandria Sage; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

 
General view of the Elysee Palace in Paris, March 5, 2008. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier