NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT
April 27, 2016
AJ Linn (45 articles)
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NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT

In the same week that Rudy Kurniawan’s collection of wines was put on sale by the US justice department, a new wine fraud has hit Hong Kong. Kurniawan is the greatest wine forger in history, and although he is now shut away for a 10-year term, he can look back on around 12,000 fake wines he sold between 2004 and 2012. He filled empty bottles with Californian reds and labelled them as premier- cru Bordeaux, cleverly transforming a $100 wine into a $1,000 one.

 

Now his private collection is for sale online, but with Kurniawan’s reputation how does the buyer know if he is getting the real thing? The US authorities offer no guarantees, although experts have checked out all the wine on sale – and rejected many bottles. Safest route is to ignore the big names like Cheval Blanc, Petrus, Lafite, Latour and Mouton Rothschild, the forger’s favourites, and go for the more humble stuff. Kurniawan got his come-uppance when he put up for sale a top Bordeaux of a vintage year in which it had not been made, not the first time a wine forger has made this mistake.

 

The spin-off from so much fake wine in circulation is staggering. It is claimed there is so much counterfeit Chateau Lafite in China that no-one wants to buy any, just in case.

 

Last month a US-owned auction house in Hong Kong announced its inaugural sale, and with much trumpet-blowing the star turn was revealed as a collection of wines offered by a Swedish aristocrat ‘with strong links to the country’s royal family’. Some of the wines had been gifted to the aristocrat by the King, and the Cheval Blanc 1937, 1945 and 1947 ‘acquired directly from the Chateau.’ No-one believed this fairy tale and when checked out it did not stack up, with the result that just a few hours before the auction the lot was withdrawn. Not a good start for the auction house, which will have a job establishing its reputation.

 

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AJ Linn

AJ Linn

AJ Linn se estableció en España hace más de 40 años tras una abreviada carrera en Inglaterra vinculada entre otras cosas con la importación de vinos. Ha vivido en El Puerto de Santa María y Cádiz, ahora Marbella, y durante las ultimas décadas se ha dedicado a varios negocios, hasta que actualmente se limita a escribir sobre vino, gastronomía, flamenco y el estilo de vida español. Aparte de su columna semanal en el Diario Sur, sus artículos se publican con regularidad en medios de habla inglesa, tanto en España como en el extranjero.

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