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Buyers Bid On Presidential Tipple In Paris

posted 31 May 2013, 09:36 by Mpelembe   [ updated 31 May 2013, 09:37 ]

Wines that missed out on their destiny of touching the lips of presidents go under the hammer at Elysee cellar auction with some bottles selling for up to 2,100 euros.

PARISFRANCE (MAY 28, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Some high-ranking bottles of one of France's most beloved exports found new homes at an auction in Paris on Friday (May 31) after being evicted from one of the classiest addresses in town -- the Elysee palace.

As the home of French presidents since the mid-19th century, the Elysee has hosted distinguished guests at state soirees for over 150 years.

Some of the finest French wines which have been greasing the cogs of diplomacy for decades went under the hammer in sales on Thursday and Friday in the first ever Elysee wine cellar auction.

With over a thousand bottles ready for eager bidders, Bordeaux and Burgundy wines dominated at the two-part sale of French vintages.

Though many of the wines are at the pinnacle of their shelf life, with only one or two bottles of some vintages in stock, they are not enough to wash down a state banquet.

But auctioneers said that the conditions in the cellar, with the bottles undisturbed for years, were ideal for the wines as they age.

Most of bidders said that apart from liking the wine, they were also attending the sale to make investments.

"France represents good wine so it's important to like it. Wine is an investment product. Because of its history, because of its little logos stuck on the bottle of wine (saying) "Elysee lot, Elysee palace", that gives it an additional value. Personally, I am here for the pleasure like everybody else here, but also to get some investment wine," said Edouard, a 27- year old bidder interested in making an investment and planning to spend up to 10 000 euros at the auction sale.

"I am here for a friend in China who does some importing of French wine and who would like to complete his collection with some wines from the Elysee Palace, so he said: 'It's ok if you can get a few bottles for a reasonable price'," said Lissen Wang, a French industrial worker of Chinese origin.

"A maximum budget? No! But if I get everything I want it will be 30 000 thousand (euros)," he added when asked if he had been given a maximum limit by his friend.

The Elysee wine cellar is a closely guarded treasure protected by an armoured door.

It contains a collection of 12,000 bottles overseen by head sommelier Virginie Routis.

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

Demand remains high for wine from France, the world's largest wine producer by value, especially from affluent buyers in China and the United StatesChina is the world's biggest importer of Bordeaux wines.