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Thieves Steal 4,000 Bottles of Bordeaux From Three Chateaus

Julia Mann
Posted: September 9, 1999

French police have yet to solve what they believe was an organized series of wine thefts in Bordeaux last month. Taking advantage of the quiet Roman Catholic Assumption Day holiday, thieves broke into three chateaus over the weekend of Aug. 13 to 15 and made off with more than 4,000 bottles of wine with an estimated total value of about $50,000.

The wine thieves began their weekend of pillaging at Chateau Rozier in St.-Emilion. There, they stole 100 cases of Rozier and 100 cases of Chateau Reindent, a Bordeaux superieur. They then continued their burglary spree at a respected grand cru classe in St.-Emilion, Chateau Troplong-Mondot, from which they took 117 cases of the 1997 vintage.

"Despite the alarm systems set up at the chateau, the thieves broke the doors and windows and took the cases," said Christine Vallette, owner of Troplong-Mondot. "Our chateau is isolated in the middle of the vineyards, and maybe we should no longer keep our stocks of wine at the chateau."

"This isn't the first time this has happened," added Vallette. "In 1996, 4,000 bottles disappeared, and in 1997, 1,500. In a number of properties, robberies take place just after bottling."

Over the same weekend, another robbery took place in the Medoc, at Chateau d'Escot, where the thieves took 30 cases of wine. French police believe that the robberies are linked. So far, none of the bottles have been found and no suspects have been detained.

Bordeaux police were more successful earlier this summer, when an attempted wine theft took place at Chateau Angelus, one of the most prestigious St.-Emilion estates. In that case, 2,500 bottles were recovered after a police chase.

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