Friday, October 20, 2006

Clearly, it's le déluge

I don't know if I want to go see such a sight. I told myself I did, but I forgot to go, which Freud would say is ample proof of ambivalence.

Where would I see this? At the Crédit Municipal de Paris, which is in charge of the City of Paris's monster wine auction (like you might say "monster trucks" - these are huge, huge wines). Thousands of bottles for hundreds of thousands of euros, and quaintly, the day before and morning of, you can go look at the items to be put up for sale. I'd kind of thought I'd make my way over to the rue des Francs Bourgeois in the Marais to check out some Mouton Rothschilds and Haut-Brions.

But I didn't. This morning I looked at the list on line. It seemed like a slaughter to expulse all of those grands and 1ers crus from the cellars of town hall. It felt like regicide. Of course, instead of noble heads on the chopping block, Paris's socialist mayor Delanoë is putting noble bottles up to chop them down.

How the mighty fall. Quite appropriate that they should be set out in their pillories on the rue des Francs Bourgeois. It's supremely - frankly! - bourgeois to sell off a million euros worth of wine just to look like a good and non-entitled citizen (I'm talking about the usually more culturally attuned Delanoë).

On the other hand, if these weren't going to be served at state dinners because they had grown too "important", why not allow Russian and Chinese businessmen with a penchant for the vine to acquire them? It's better than serving them to dignitaries of the likes of George W. Bush. (Yes, according to the NY Times, Chirac had the crazed idea of serving the U.S. president some Petrus. I wonder if he was able to distinguish the currant notes from the hints of black cherry? And did he smack his lips?)

The ostensible reason for this flushing out of the big bottles is because Paris, especially by the Seine, where the Hôtel de Ville is situated, is at risk of flooding. With classic French coyness, Delanoë is evoking more than one kind of déluge...


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