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Allegations fly over disappearance of 400 bottles of Petrus

French police are investigating the disappearance of hundreds of bottles of Pétrus belonging to the château's former owner Lily Lacoste.

In a convoluted case involving the 96-year-old widow, her nephew, her former legal representative and a neighbouring château proprietor, police are concentrating on finding the bottles that were supposed to have been laid down in Mme Lacoste’s cellars.

Lacoste inherited the venerable Pétrus – which produces one of Bordeaux’s most valuable wines – in 1961, and subsequently sold it to the Moueix family. She also owned château Latour a Pomerol and Château Lafleur in Pomerol. The former has been donated to Catholic charity Le Foyer de Charite (though Lacoste retains certain rights), and the latter sold.

As part of the Petrus deal she was given 1200 bottles, which should have been transported to her cellars at Latour. But according to her friend and current advisor, Michel Chasseuil, proprietor of Château Feytit-Clinet, over 400 bottles of Pétrus have gone missing.

‘We know where two thirds of the wine is, but we cannot find 400 bottles,’ Chasseuil told decanter.com. He added that furniture and paintings had also been stolen, and 300 bottles of Latour a Pomerol had disappeared from the chai of the château.

He also said advantage had been taken of Mme Lacoste over the sale of Château Lafleur, which realised around €4m (£2.56m), none of which Mme Lacoste has seen.

Lacoste’s nephew and heir, Guy Pétrus Lignac, is also filing suit, alleging that various advisors took advantage of his aunt’s old age.

Lacoste’s former mandataire M. Louliere, who was dismissed by the widow three months ago, has been interviewed by the police.

Written by Adam Lechmere2 December 2002

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