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Do you fancy a tipple? State sells its best plonk

The fizz has gone out of functions hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, with a dramatic plunge in spending on wines.

Some €7,834 was spent on wine for State and official hospitality in 2012 – down from a €51,952 in 2011.

But the cellars are not empty just yet – there are still 1,108 bottles of white wine, and 1,373 bottles of red wine in stock.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore recently announced he wants to clear the cellars in his department at Iveagh House of their most expensive wines.

He has instructed the department to sell the higher value wine that can be sold.

And now the Herald can reveal what exactly he's hoping to put on the market.



The most expensive bottles in stock in the Department are €79 for red wine, with the cheapest ones being €7.99.

Meanwhile, bottles of the white cost from €8.77 right up to around €59. The biggest spend on red was a total of €9,711.

This was spent on 180 bottles of Chateau Talbot, a French wine produced in 2005 costing €53.95 a bottle.

When it comes to white wine, the largest outlay was €3,000 on 96 bottles of Puligny Montrachet Les Enseigneres from 2010.

The most expensive bottle of red is €79 and it is a Chateau Lynch Bages, Grand Cru Classe, a French 2001 wine. At the moment, the department has 24 bottles of this, worth €1,896.

And the most expensive bottle of white in stock costs €58.68 – French Chateau de Fieuzal Blanc from 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Almost a third of the bottles in the cellars have been deemed "tradeable" by wine experts and are to be put on the market. The entire wine collection has a value of €77,767 and the vast majority of those being kept will be valued at €30 or less.

It's hoped to recoup around €40,000 for the taxpayer as a result of the measure.

- Fiona Dillon