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Dec 9, 2013 07:20 AM

Kurniawan trial: Defence witness judges majority of trial exhibits fakes

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  1. This guy is scary... really casts doubt over alot of bottles...he sucked so many people in... Here's a great (or sad) picture of his fake corks and labels:

    I'm putting together a meal with among others, a 1997 DRC St. Vivant a friend of mine is BYOB'ing ($15 corkage no less).... not sure I can even enjoy it after reading this :(

    On second thought I don't think Kurniawan dealt in bottles that young or "cheap" so maybe nothing to worry about.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TombstoneShadow

      Yeah, I'm not personally worried either . . . been a long time since I bought any DRC . . . still, yore right: the guy is absolutely scary!

      1. re: zin1953

        Thankfully many (Not all. ahem.) auction houses have gone back through their own vetting processes and have cleaned up a lot of the fake wine. Or you could have the bottle(s) looked at by a private professional who specialize in counterfeit detection.

        1. re: plaidbowtie

          How accurate is counterfeit detection for wine though? Assuming the crook uses the right corks, bottles, and especially if they have a real label off an empty bottle?

          Bill Koch sued for how much due to suspected counterfeits he purchased from "reputable" auction houses?

          I bet he's looking at his 45,000 bottle collection wondering how many thousands of those bottles are fake...

          For every Kurniawan making himself the center of attraction (and suspicion) with the over-the-top vertical dinners, how many others are or were keeping a low profile flying under the radar? Otherwise how do we account for the supply to fufill the explosion in massive personal cellars over the past 10-20 years? Unless those bottles came directly from the vineyard how can they not be suspect?

          1. re: TombstoneShadow

            There are many ways that one might be able to detect that involve correct corks, glass, and labels. Koch, IIRC purchased mainly from Acker and Zachy's, one of which has since cleaned up their act in major way over the past 5 years, and the other, well, I still wouldn't touch with a 10 mile pole.

            My point in that statement was perhaps incomplete. There is a lot more scrutiny around the sale of wine at auction, and rightfully so. However, that level of scrutiny falls off drastically once you move to retail- I could list specific retailers who have taken back bottles deemed fake, and then resold them again.

        2. re: zin1953

          As China is buying up most of the upper-level productions from Burgundy, I doubt that many will even see the wines (real, or counterfeit) from there. I'll let them sort it out.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            I still get emails regularly from a few dealers in HK advertising old vintages of Leroy and DRC. Maybe the bottles are being continuously flipped, but the recurring volumes of these so-called "rare" bottles worry me. Even if I could afford them, I would think thrice before pulling the trigger.

      2. Mike Steinberger offers some excellent commentary on the proceedings and wonders why Burghound has not been asked to testify.

        1. BTW, this kurniawan - greenberg - kapon - burghound etc. scandal should prove once and for all the value of blind tastings.

          Would people be sipping Kurniawans faux petrus and giving it "wine of the century" ratings if they had no idea what it was (or what he claimed it was)? While burghound was sipping fess parker and giving it a 100+ it was due to one and only one reason: he was under the spell of the label and the blatherfest at which these fakes were presented...

          Tasting the wine blind (at least double and preferably triple blind in this case), the results would probably have been very different.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TombstoneShadow

            So the most important lesson I get from this is that one should only buy wines that she/he considers affordable, expect the wine to be good and pleasurable, serve the wine in nice circumstances, and enjoy it. Overall, a much better policy than blowing a wad on a bottle that then must meet the most exacting standards.