A cache of stolen Côte Rotie wines has been discovered in a hidden cellar only a little further down the river Rhône after a year-long search.

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Police found 430 bottles of an original 1,800 stolen Côte Rotie wines from the five-hectare Domaine Garon in the northern Rhône.

They were buried among a stash of 5,000 stolen bottles in total in a hidden cellar in the Drôme area of the Rhône – suggesting the theft may have been part of a larger, organised crime operation.

Thieves broke into Garon’s cellars in December 2014 and took €60,000 worth of Côte Rotie wines just before they were shipped to customers.

The returned wines are all from the 2012 vintage and are from the three cuvées of Les Rochins, Les Triotes and La Sybarine.

‘Customers who had ordered the bottles that were taken last year have already received replacements,’ Kevin Garon told Decanter.com. ‘We will now taste these recovered wines to ensure that they have not been damaged, and will then be able to sell them.’

The wines were discovered in a hidden cellar in the Drôme by the police force from Tournon-sur-Rhône, around 16km away from Tournon.

‘Our break-in was one of a number of thefts in the northern Rhône over the past few years,’ Garon said.

The re-seller who had stored the wines has been arrested, and an investigation was ongoing to trace the original thieves.