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The Man Who Fought Bandits to Collect the World’s Rarest Wines

The finest wine you’ll ever find.

Hunt_on_Photos_Studio / Pixabay

Dubbed “The Louvre of Wine”, these vino vaults are the product of a determined and discerning curator who showed some serious willpower.

79-year-old Michel-Jack Chasseuil refuses to drink a single drop of his wine. It’s undoubtedly this level of self-discipline which has left him with one of the most valuable hoards of rare and vintage bottles in the world.

His treasures are kept in a basement in Western France, in a village called La Chapelle-Bâton, which is part of the Deux-Sèvres region.

It’s quite a way from the vineyards that wine connoisseurs would typically visit – but as Chausseuil writes in his book, 100 Vintage Treasures: From the World’s Finest Wine Cellar: “Those who want to visit the best wine cellar in the world need to come here”.

Chassueil illuminates his treasures with old-fashioned lamps like this one. Credit: Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

Dangerously Desirable

It’s hard to say exactly how much each bottle in the collection is worth – but Chasseuil rests assured that his wine will soar in value over time. In 2018, for example, a bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti sold for around €460,000 in New York. Chasseuil bought two of them, way back in the 1990s, as well as a 1921 Romanée-Conti, for only €1,500. We’re willing to bet there’s a few more hidden gems in his collection, too.

Possessing such a valuable stash, however, can get you into trouble. Chasseuil was once held hostage by thieves, who masqueraded as delivery drivers before kidnapping and then beating him for several hours. They even threatened to cut three of his fingers off.

He eventually convinced them that the cellar key was kept at the bank, and they left with a relatively small loot, which included his car and several bottles.

StockSnap / Pixabay

His original cellar is tucked well away, only accessible by a secret passage. Chasseuil is always looking to expand, though – he’s currently constructing a new cave-like storage space that can display up to 3,000 cases of wine. That amounts to a staggering 40,000 bottles of the world’s finest tipple.

The new space will span 50 metres across, and it’ll even be built to withstand earthquakes so that not a drop of the precious collection will be lost due to smashed bottles.

Chasseuil is adamant that none of his wines are for sale. So, if you’re looking to get into collecting, you might have to start a little smaller.

Here’s five reasons you should buy wine online to get you going.

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