Friday, October 06, 2006

Chirac loses wine

I've never been partial to Jacques Chirac, but stealing his wine, selling it, and putting the money into government coffers?

Now the current socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoƫ, has opened up Mr Chirac's old wine-cellars under Paris's picturesque town hall and brought in the auditors. When specialists uncovered the prestigious collection of aged bordeaux and some of the best wines and champagne available in France, Mr Delanoƫ ordered most of them be sold and the money ploughed back into public funds.

He argued that if the River Seine flooded the cellars, the wines would be irreparably damaged.


"This is an exceptional collection," said Claude Maratier, the wine expert in charge of the sale. "The wines are in excellent condition and many are the best vintages from the last 30 years."

Well yeah, it's Jacques freakin' Chirac's! Nothiing but the best for him.

But Bernard Bled, the former town hall official who lovingly collected the wines for Mr Chirac and the later mayor Jean Tiberi, said he was pained to learn that thousands of the bottles had never been drunk. "I started in 1975 and built up the collection over 30 years, pouring my personality into it. It was essential for us to offer the best wine to the big international personalities we hosted in Paris. This wine cellar is about prestige, it's a part of French heritage, a way of showing visitors the best of France.

He added: "I'm sad to see it dispersed like this, it was a great collection meant to be drunk, not saved. It's a shame it hasn't all been tasted and presented at functions. Maybe the town hall should have been a little less niggardly and parsimonious about what they served."

If I was Chirac, I think I'd be a little cheesed about this redistribution of wealth!