Adieu Auction: Paris City Hall Wine Cellar

It was just a matter of time. Nearly 5,000 top-end bottles of wine and champagne were auctioned yesterday from the Paris City Hall collection that dates back many decades. Auctioneer Dominique Giafferi mentioned that it was “the perfect cellar” because the vintage wines were kept at 54 degrees F with 87% humidity… impeccable wine storage conditions.

Some of the wines weren’t exceptional. But many were collectors’ items. Among the first lots were six bottles of 1998 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. They sold for twice the estimated value for a total of $1,133 US, close to $380 per bottle. In all, 416 cases were displayed for sale, which organizers predicted would bring in as much as $942,000 US.

The bulk of the wines were accumulated during the tenure of Paris’s one-time mayor, President Jacques Chirac, between 1977 and 1995. But the current mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, led the effort to sell off the wine.

Many collectors wanted to keep the wine in France. Some bidders were representing clients in major markets, from the US to China. Oenophiles were said to be salivating at the chance to regale dinner guests with some wines from Chirac’s cellars.

In fact, collector Eric Guy, said “We’ve got to stop the Americans and Japanese from buying up all the French wine.”

[Read the story at SF]

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