The British government wine cellar is set to get less corking after a minister announced plans on May 13 to sell the most expensive wines to help cut a record deficit.
The total value of the wine stored for VIP functions is more than 864,000 pounds (NT$40 million) and includes vintages such as Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
After a review as part of austerity measures by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham said there would be a “targeted sale of high-value stock” from the collection.
“I seriously considered abolishing the cellar, but all the evidence shows that we will save the taxpayer money by keeping the cellar and reforming it so that wine purchases are self-funded through sales,” he said.
“The cellar has been part of government functions for nearly a century and through these reforms it will provide value for money, accountability and will continue to offer hospitality to important guests from around the world.”
The review came after British lawmaker Tom Watson, a member of the opposition Labour Party, revealed that the cellar contains a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1978 worth more than 2,500 pounds (NT$117,000), among other top vintages.
Next to a bottle of Chateau Latour 1955, worth about 1,000 pounds, a note was found reading: “Drink on v. special occasions. Spectacular: no need now to hasten rundown of tiny stock. ‘The essence of wonderful claret’. Fresh and lovely.”
Meanwhile a bottle of Chateau Palmer 1975, which costs upwards of 120 pounds (NT$5,600), is described as a “really old-fashioned style claret, rich and excellent with some austerity.”
1. austerity n.
緊縮 (jin3 suo1)
例: The economy is at risk of collapsing because austerity programs are not progressing as planned.
2. abolish v.
廢除 (fei4 chu2)
例: Human rights organizations have been urging Taiwan to abolish the death penalty for years now.
3. accountability n.
可靠性 (ke3 kao4 xing4)
例: Accountability and transparency do not exist in dictatorial governments.
One unnamed prime minister writes that a Chateau Margaux 1961 is “silky.”