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Hotel de Crillon wines snapped up at auction

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An auction of 2,000 bottles of wine belonging to Paris's luxury Hotel de Crillon, which is selling off furniture and stock during its closure for a two-year-long makeover, fetched 300,000 euros ($391,500) on Monday.

The top draw from the prestigious wine cellar -- home to an impressive 17,000 bottles -- was a prize Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac that sold for 9,100 euros.

Most of the red Burgundy and Bordeaux wines fetched more than their estimated price tags of between 50 and 500 euros, with two La Tache Burgundys from 2005 and 2002 selling for 3,900 euros and 2,600 euros respectively.

One buyer paid 1,720 euros for a bottle of 1961 Pessac Leognan from the Chateau Haut Brion.

The Parisian institution's reputation meant that the wine sales were better than expected, said the Artcurial auction house.

"There is a quoted price for the wine," said auctioneer Stephane Aubert. "But we are above that as there is always the Crillon effect."

Jerome Moreau, head sommelier at the Crillon, said the hotel was "delighted" with the sale, which attracted a mix of amateur buyers and professionals.

Sales of the hotel's furniture meanwhile made profits of 5.7 million euros, with a bar designed by the French sculptor Cesar notching up the highest price of the auction so far at 324,800 euros. It was bought by a contemporary art collector from Europe.

Over half of the sales of the 3,500 lots took place online, Artcurial said.

The next lots up for grabs will be the contents of the Crillon's kitchens on Tuesday.

The hotel, overlooking the emblematic Place de la Concorde, shut at the end of March for thorough renovation work that includes a new spa.

The stone building was commissioned by French King Louis XV and built in 1758. Now owned by Saudi royals, the iconic hotel has attracted celebrity guests over the decades, including Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson and Madonna.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130422/hotel-de-crillon-wines-snapped-at-auction