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President Macron ‘€2,000 bottle of wine’ post debunked

Claims that French President Emmanuel Macron was “drinking a €2,000 bottle of wine while Paris was burning” have been debunked, after a Facebook post and photo on the issue went viral.

The subject first arose on Sunday March 17, after a post and photo was posted on the “Les Picologues” Facebook group (below).

The photo appeared to show Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron enjoying a sunny lunch in the mountains that weekend, and Mr Macron was pictured pouring from a large bottle of wine worth - it was claimed - over €2,000.

The post caption read: “There was once a president who served himself a €2,000 bottle of wine while Paris burned…”, and also featured the question "pouvoir d'achat (buying power)??!" above the couple's head - in reference to one of the major grievances of the gilets jaunes.

The post and photo were subsequently shared more than 11,000 times.

The timing was key.

Mr Macron and his wife had already been reported elsewhere as taking a ski break holiday that week - although later reports said this trip had been cut short - and the post came just one day after violent clashes and rioting erupted in the latest gilets jaunes protest in Paris.

Mr Macron is also often criticised as a "President for the rich".

Yet, fact checkers at Le Monde newspaper have now confirmed that the photo share was misreported.

Contrary to claims, the photo was not taken during the violent Acte 18 clashes on Saturday March 16, but actually dates back to April 2017.

It was taken by Agence-France Presse photographer Eric Feferberg, and actually shows the Presidential couple having lunch at the L’Etape du Berger restaurant in the Hautes-Pyrénées town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, on April 12 2017.

Similarly, the “€2,000 bottle of wine” is likely to have cost much less, the same fact checkers have said.

Close scrutiny of the photo appears to show that the President is pouring from a bottle of Château Montus wine, from the Madiran appellation.

Currently, an average 2016 bottle of this wine costs €22.50 per 75cl. A magnum (1.5 litres) costs €45. One bottle from the Château Montus prestige collection may cost up to €45 per bottle, and a magnum of the same variety may cost up to €90.

Older vintages may cost more, but the price of the bottle in the photo could not have cost more than €100 maximum, Le Monde concluded.

The owner of the restaurant in question,  Eric Abadie, said the bottle of wine consumed by the Presidential party that day - and pictured in the photo - is actually likely to have cost no more than €70.

He said: “It was the 2003 or 2004 vintage, I believe. I am able to sell bottles at this price, because I have been working with [Château Montus vineyard owner] Alain Brumont for 40 years, and he gives me wholesale prices.”

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