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Late shale pioneer McClendon’s wine collection up for auction

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Chesapeake Energy Corp. co-founder Aubrey McClendon’s multi-million dollar wine collection is going up for auction less than six months after the shale-gas trailblazer perished in an Oklahoma City car crash.

The collection is comprised almost exclusively of Bordeaux wines, including rare 6-liter bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000, said Ben Nelson, president of auction house Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. The selection, which also includes “astounding quantities” of Chateau Petrus and Chateau Cheval Blanc, has an estimated value of $5.1 million to $7.6 million, according to a notice announcing the sale on Hart’s website.

McClendon was a pioneer of the North American shale bonanza who built Chesapeake into the second-largest U.S. gas producer before a shareholder revolt and cratering energy prices forced him out of the company’s he’d led for a quarter century. A notorious oenophile, McClendon entertained investors, customers, partners and interviewers over dinners built around selections from his personal collection. He died on March 2, just hours after his federal indictment for bid-rigging, when his vehicle slammed into a highway retaining wall.

McClendon “bought the best vintages and he bought a lot of them,” Nelson said in a telephone interview. “Such huge quantities of the finest wines like this aren’t something anyone will see at auction again.”

Wine connoisseurs can submit bids ahead of time via Hart’s website, mobile app, fax or phone. The live auction is scheduled for Sept. 17 at Chicago restaurant Tru beginning at 8:30 a.m. local time.

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