Emmanuel Macron Opens Presidential Wine Cellar to Public

France’s Elysée Palace has officially opened its doors to its wine cellar first time this past weekend as part of a bid by President Emmanuel Macron to promote national heritage.

There were 350 members of the public who toured the cavernous cellar which houses 14,000 bottles, from all the wine growing regions of France.

“This is the first time we’ve opened the cellar to the public,” Virginie Routis, the Elysée’s sommelier for the past 11 years, told Europe 1 radio.

The three-meter high vaulted cellar is two floors below ground level and keeps a plethora of fine wines and spirits, from cognac to top champagnes, at an ideal temperature of 13 degrees Celsius.

The also cellar contains prestigious vintages such as Cheval Blanc, Latour, and Puligny-Montrachet. Its oldest bottle is said to be a 1906 Sauternes.

“The wine is chosen according to the menu. I make a selection…Madame and Monsieur Macron also get to approve the choice. We really have to represent French gastronomy, so you have to choose wines that speak to a given foreign delegation,” she said.

The cellar was designed in 1947. During Jacques Chirac’s presidency in 2013, some 1,200 bottles were auctioned off as the quantities were too small to serve at official dinners.

Unlike his teetotal predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Macron is quite knowledgeable on French wines and has confessed to drinking a glass of wine at lunch and dinner.

He has chosen to open the cellars as part of France’s annual Heritage Days, where numerous state and listed buildings are exceptionally opened to the public.

About Liz Palmer

Award Winning Author and Wine Journalist Liz Palmer is a well-respected wine journalist since 2004 and has an international reputation as a critic and judge. Liz has had the pleasure of interviewing and tasting with some of the industry’s leading winemakers, professors and personalities. Liz Palmer’s articles have appeared in national and international magazines. She is one of four founding international hosts for #ChampagneDay 2011-2017; she has served as a judge for the 2013-2017 Global Traveler's Wines on the Wing airline wine competition (New York); 2014-2017 Michelangelo International Wine Awards (South Africa) 2014-2017; and for The Stevie Awards for Women in Business (New York) (2014-2017). Her Memberships include: Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada, Circle of Wine Writers (UK), International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers (FIJEV); Wine Century Club (NYC), The Fine Wine Reserve, and Les Dames d’Escoffier (President – Toronto Chapter). 2017 Awards: Liz Palmer’s first book, “The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” has received the National Award for the best French Wine Book at the Gourmand World Awards 2017. On April 7th, 2017 she was awarded the title of “Dame Chevalier” of the Ordre de Coteaux de Champagne at an official ceremony in Paris.

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