Wine Collection of Indicted Oil Exec Who Died is Being Auctioned in Chicago

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune/TNS) —

In the market for a double-magnum of 1990 Chateau Le Pin that once belonged to Oklahoma oil-and-gas magnate Aubrey McClendon?

Well then, you’re in luck. McClendon’s collection of more than 4,600 bottles will be auctioned Sept. 17 at Tru restaurant in Chicago, according to Hart Davis Hart, the Chicago-based wine vendor conducting the auction.

McClendon, the 56-year-old CEO of American Energy Partners and a partial owner of a professional basketball team, died in a car wreck March 2, a day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury over alleged bid-rigging. His wine is expected to garner as much as $7.6 million.

Ben Nelson, president of Hart Davis Hart, called McClendon’s stock “one of the largest collections of Bordeaux we’ve ever seen.”

McClendon was known for his fondness of large-format bottles, which he would often open and share at business meetings, Nelson said. At the end of the meeting — and the bottle — everyone would sign the label as a sort of keepsake for McClendon.

“It’s a special sale. It’s really a large quantity of large-format bottles, the likes of which I just haven’t seen in my career and probably won’t see again,” Nelson said.

The auction’s open to the public, but thrifty drinkers should probably look elsewhere. The wine will be sold in lots, varying in quantity, at an average estimated price of about $7,000.

The cheapest lot is a single double-magnum bottle of 1998 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon with a wine-stained label, estimated to sell in the range of $80 and $120. The most expensive lot, a case of 2000 Chateau Petrus, is expected to range up to $55,000.

On March 1, the Department of Justice said in a statement that McClendon was suspected of orchestrating a scheme between two large energy companies, which were not named in the indictment, from December 2007 to March 2012. In a statement released the same day, McClendon denied the charges.

In early June, following an autopsy, the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office ruled McClendon’s fatal crash to be an accident.

Online bidding has already begun.

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