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Learning English - Words in the News
20 October, 2006 - Published 10:30 GMT
Chirac's vintage wine to be sold
Potential buyers look at the wine

Paris town hall is auctioning nearly 5,000 bottles of fine wine from its hospitality cellars today. Some of the bottles of wine, which date from the time when Jacques Chirac was mayor, are now so rare they're expected to sell for thousands of pounds. This report from Emma Jane Kirby:

Listen to the story

Jacques Chirac has always been a bon viveur, famous for his huge appetite for the finer things of life. As mayor of Paris he was a frequent host of lavish parties and he and his wife Bernadette spent roughly six hundred dollars per day on their personal food and drink alone. But now Mr Chirac's prestigious collection of wine and champagne is going under the hammer.

The present socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, ordered the auction after discovering bottles which had increased so much in value they were deemed too extravagant to be served by the Paris town hall.

Starting bids for most of the wine stand around the seven hundred and fifty dollar mark but those with a more sophisticated palate could try the 1990 Chateau Petrus, likely to fetch nearly two thousand seven hundred dollars. Mr Chirac may not be too sad to see his cellar dispersed, France's President actually prefers a cool glass of Mexican beer.

Emma Jane Kirby, BBC, Paris

Listen to the words

a bon viveur
someone who enjoys good food and wines and going to restaurants and parties

luxurious and expensive

with high status

going under the hammer
being sold at auction

thought to be

Starting bids
The prices at which the auction will begin

a more sophisticated palate
a more developed taste for wine

to fetch
to reach a price of

split up

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