Your photograph in Post 295 depicts the same Geneva bottle I have been trying to get the high resolution photos of from Christies Geneva. That bottle had a well-established provenance and was inspected by Aubert and given a new neck label by the Domaine. This main label is also identical to the label from a bottle of 1945 Romanee Conti purchased by my friend Geoff Troy from Dr. Lucia in the early 1980s. The photos that I really wanted to see from Geneva were those showing the neck of the bottle showing the glass color and the wax closure. If you have them, please post them.
With admittedly still incomplete information, my take on the 1945 La Tache (Lot 132) and 1945 Romanee Conti (Lot 133) and 1937 La Tache (Lot 134) is as follows, taking them out of order:
1945 Romanee Conti (Lot 133): This is a difficult wine to assess because of the lack of truly sharp photographs of the Spectrum bottle and the fact that I don’t have an exemplar of unquestioned provenance to which to compare the bottle color. While it is impossible to state a conclusion with absolute certainty, my assessment would be that this is likely a very good fake rather than an authentic bottle because of the following:
(1) there is absolutely no provenance information provided for this allegedly “once in a lifetime bottle” – this makes the bottle highly suspect regardless of how good a copy it might at first glance appear to be. The fact that Spectrum has chosen not to say anything speaks volumes to me;
(2) the font on the number 4 in 1945 in the photographs of Lot 33 clearly differs from the two known good exemplars. Here is a blow-up of the date porton of Lot 133 from the high resolution photos on Spectrum web site.
First, notice that the short leg of the four rises just over half way up the numeral and that the short leg terminates in sharp 90-degree corners on each side, so that the “top” of the short leg is flat.
The diagonal line on the left side of the four has precisely parallel lines on each side of the diagonal. The width of the diagonal line is the same from top to bottom.
However, the 4 on the Geneva exemplar bottle (see Post 295) and the on the Dr. Lucia bottle (which are identical) have a different number 4. Here is the 4 from the Dr. Lucia bottle which you will see is exactly the same as the photo which Linden posted above. The 4 on these two exemplar bottles is also identical to the 4 which appears on the 1942 La Tache bottles in the Sotheby’s Ultimate Cellar Catalog, April 2-3, 2011 (Lot 6319 at page 94.)
Note first that the short leg on this four is different. The short leg of the 4 rises nearly three-quarters of the vertical length of the number and instead of ending in a flat top with 90 degree angles, it bends upward at approximately 40 degrees and is higher on the far right of the short leg than it is at the middle of the 4. Similarly the diagonal line of the 4 is much narrower where it meets the horizontal line and it flares outward as it rises. All three of the known good exemplars have the identical 4, which clearly differs from the 4 in Lot 133.
(3) the color of the green Appellation Controlee line on the Spectrum bottle is more of a Kelly green (or more yellow in the color mix) than the exemplar bottle and all of the other bottles and photos I’ve examined. Also the color appears to have “run” or “bled” slightly on the paper. The edges are not sharp and visible color bleeding is apparent on the high resolution photo;
(4) despite more than half of the cork being exposed, no claim is made that the cork sets forth a vintage or a visible vineyard name.
(5) the wax capsule is cracked vertically from top to bottom on the one visible side and then in a straight line across the top of the cork. While it is unclear, it may be that the wax capsule was glued or melted onto this bottle from two separate pieces.
1945 La Tache (Lot 132):
This one seems clearly to be fake in my view for the following reasons:
(1) there is absolutely no provenance information provided for this allegedly “once in a lifetime bottle” – this alone would compel me to say no;
(2) the font on the number 4 on the 1945 La Tache is clearly different than any of the 4’s discussed above. In this instance, the 4 is closed at the top rather than open and this is completely different from the known good samples of 1942 La Tache and the two exemplars of 1945 Romanee Conti, all of which are identical, and are illustrated above;
(3) the numerals 45 in the date do not align properly with the balance of the date and Annee. The numerals 45 start above and finish above "Annee 19." The numerals 4 and 5 also appear to be printed in slightly darker ink than the 19.
(4) the pink capsule clearly does not appear to be original and apparently does not include a DRC imprint;
(5) the color on the Appellation Controllee line is again Kelly Green and not quite right; and
(6) the bottle color is completely different than the purported 45 Romanee Conti.
1937 La Tache (Lot 134):
This bottle remains unclear, but I would say it is more than likely not authentic. I have not been able to find good exemplars of 1937 La Tache (and, while perhaps this is just a coincidence, it is interesting to me that the images of the 1937 La Tache and 1937 Romanee Conti sold by Spectrum in their winter 2011 auction have disappeared from their website in the past few days). Nevertheless the font on ANNÉE on the left hand side of the vintage is completely different than that which appears on a bottle of 1937 Romanee Conti of known provenance sold at Heritage Wine Auctions on June 16, 2011, The 1937 La Tache in Lot 134 presents ANNÉE in uniformly sized block lettering. However, the exemplar 1937 Romanee Conti presents the word as Année in initial caps.
Here, again, the absence of any disclosure about the provenance of this bottle tips the balance for me.
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