RUDY KURNIAWAN & GLOBAL WINE AUCTION FRAUD THREAD (MERGED)

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Cris Whetstone
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#351 Post by Cris Whetstone » February 7th, 2012, 1:59 pm

Chris Doty wrote:
Cris Whetstone wrote:
I'm not sure why anyone would expect DRC to authenticate it's wine. I understand that circumstances seem to beg for it and their wines are among the very most valuable but none of that makes it a requirement for them to track their bottles once they leave the winery. Nor is it upon them to have to prove that this bottle is real or that a fake. They could provide that service for a fee if they like but even in that case I would think it would be quite difficult for them to prove authentication in each and every case. I'm sure for bottles in the last 20-30 years it would be much easier and they might have a procedure for it but when we are talking about bottles that are nearly 70 years old then things become a lot more dicey. It is just an ugly situation all around and I don't think sending pressure DRC's way helps any.
I expect them to authenticate its bottles because:

1.) People seem to be making a habit of counterfeiting them
2.) They are all very, very expensive
3.) Counterfeit bottles believed to be real but tasting like s--- reflect very poorly on the Domaine
4.) They are perhaps the greatest domaine in the history of wine, and they should feel a level of responsibility that is consistent with that reputation

But hey -- that's just me, and I have purchased *zero* bottles of DRC in my life (sigh), so what do I know anyway?
That is a nice wish list but none of it compels them to and none of it requires them to. Being perhaps the greatest house in the history of wine does not require one to add a new service to your product. The price and relative quality of their wine is at the discretion of consumers and the market. The think your 'expectation' is a bit over the top whether you buy the wine or not.

I hope they can provide some help with these sorts of cases. They may not be able to. But I find no reason to expect or require them to. Maybe we should compel the sellers and consignors to prove the authenticity instead of the other way around? Maybe they should be required to approach DRC for help with a fee in hand?
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#352 Post by Chris Doty » February 7th, 2012, 1:59 pm

Corey Miller wrote:The obvious reason for DRC not to go out of its way to authenticate is liability. Why would they want the risk? Even experts get fooled from time to time. Even if their screw up is in good faith and not negligent/fraudulent, they'd still have to defend themselves in the inevitable litigation and it would be a huge mess.

An auction house has to authenticate or they'll have no (or at least fewer) buyers, so they'll take the risk. What's in it for DRC? Maybe if they charged a fee, but the fee would have to be pretty big to cover the risk, and if the seller is paying the fee that then creates a huge conflict of interest. Better probably to just stay out of the whole thing altogether.
It is entirely possible that this is the correct assessment, Corey -- certainly, DRC are far more knowledgeable than I am regarding wine authentication, its own risk profile, and the pros and cons of stepping into a seat of authority with respect to its own bottles.

All I can say is that were I fortunate enough to own DRC and be responsible for these issues, I would invest at least 15% of the annual profits of the business into authentication and assurance. The amount of money made by the Domanie relative to its costs is certainly large enough to allow for such an allocation, and it would further cement the Domanie in the eyes of the wine drinking public as being a world-class organization deserving of its heralded status. Just my two cents -- your mileage may vary.
Last edited by Chris Doty on February 7th, 2012, 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#353 Post by Cris Whetstone » February 7th, 2012, 2:00 pm

Corey Miller wrote:The obvious reason for DRC not to go out of its way to authenticate is liability. Why would they want the risk? Even experts get fooled from time to time. Even if their screw up is in good faith and not negligent/fraudulent, they'd still have to defend themselves in the inevitable litigation and it would be a huge mess.

An auction house has to authenticate or they'll have no (or at least fewer) buyers, so they'll take the risk. What's in it for DRC? Maybe if they charged a fee, but the fee would have to be pretty big to cover the risk, and if the seller is paying the fee that then creates a huge conflict of interest. Better probably to just stay out of the whole thing altogether.
[winner.gif]
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#354 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » February 7th, 2012, 2:04 pm

Bruce Leiserowitz wrote:
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
Bruce Leiserowitz wrote:Understand that there is a difference between "authenticating" a bottle and going after anyone it thinks is selling counterfeit goods. Just because a winery decides to limit the circumstances under which it will positively "authenticate" a bottle does not necessarily mean that a winery won't pursue its legal remedies if it has reason to believe that someone is selling counterfeit versions of its products.

Bruce
OK, but how does that help the potential buyer of a potentially inauthentic bottle? I get what you're saying here, Bruce, but it's only tangentially relevant to the issue at hand, which is "should a domaine (here, DRC) authenticate bottles purporting to be theirs?"
If you are a potential buyer of a gray market bottle, then it doesn't help you. Again, IF a winery only wants to support the wines sold through authorized channels, then one way to do that is to tell potential buyers that the winery isn't going to give you a thumbs' up on a bottle you bought via the gray market. One can agree or disagree with that, but that seems like a business decision to me.

Bruce
I get what you're saying. I just view such a stance as an opportunity missed (ignored?) in a big big way. Additionally, what if many (most?) (nearly all?) of these wines simply are not available via authorized channels? Then what? Tough luck, buddy?
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#355 Post by Chris Doty » February 7th, 2012, 2:05 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote: That is a nice wish list but none of it compels them to and none of it requires them to. Being perhaps the greatest house in the history of wine does not require one to add a new service to your product. The price and relative quality of their wine is at the discretion of consumers and the market. The think your 'expectation' is a bit over the top whether you buy the wine or not.

I hope they can provide some help with these sorts of cases. They may not be able to. But I find no reason to expect or require them to. Maybe we should compel the sellers and consignors to prove the authenticity instead of the other way around? Maybe they should be required to approach DRC for help with a fee in hand?
No one said they have to do anything.

Again -- I don't own the Domaine, but if I did, I would never manage it without regard to stopping counterfeiters. Not for one second.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#356 Post by Marc Lazar » February 7th, 2012, 2:12 pm

I have worked with DRC before, and expect the domaine to sit this one out on the following grounds:

First, one of the biggest problems with old wine, is they dont have the records either. Without a smoking gun to say that something 100% was or was not done in a certain way, they tend to step back. For example, there are 1969 assortments. They know there are, and have been asked about these before, but admit they dont have the records.

Second, they now know where every single bottle goes and have authentication tricks hidden that im guessing none of us know about. but that is new, and there is no going back in time now.

Third, silence is deafening. The winery has and will sell every bottle it ever makes, at any price it chooses. They need not wade into this, especially when the court of public opinion seems to have already spoken.

Just my hunch.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#357 Post by Chris Doty » February 7th, 2012, 2:21 pm

Marc Lazar wrote:I have worked with DRC before, and expect the domaine to sit this one out on the following grounds:

First, one of the biggest problems with old wine, is they dont have the records either. Without a smoking gun to say that something 100% was or was not done in a certain way, they tend to step back. For example, there are 1969 assortments. They know there are, and have been asked about these before, but admit they dont have the records.

Second, they now know where every single bottle goes and have authentication tricks hidden that im guessing none of us know about. but that is new, and there is no going back in time now.

Third, silence is deafening. The winery has and will sell every bottle it ever makes, at any price it chooses. They need not wade into this, especially when the court of public opinion seems to have already spoken.

Just my hunch.
Marc -- I suspect that you are correct, and that DRC's own lack of firm data for old bottles is keeping them from being more vocal in this fight (especially considering the legal risk of wading in).

My only issue is just given how easily Don seems to have identified what I'm sure DRC will agree are fairly obvious (to experts, at least) issues with so many lots, this doesn't seem like a reach in terms of the appropriateness of skepticism.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#358 Post by CHris Hambleton » February 7th, 2012, 2:31 pm

Drc might not want to authenticate, but I'm sure they would want to find fakes - saying "we believe this to be genuine, but we are not sure" is very different to saying "this is clearly not genuine". BUT, this opens up some further possibilities. One has already been raised - the records may well no longer exist and however wine was sold in the past, things are very different now, so the domaine might quite rightly distance themselves from any involvement. If they were to refuse to endorse the sale it would send out a powerful message. On the other more sceptical hand, one might think that they simply do not care about the past at all , but content themselves with the knowledge that modern bottles are fully trackable and traceable.

I think however that if we were talking Cartier watches or Tiffany diamonds the companies involved might very well drop everything and get on the plane. After all, it's not far, there's not a lot happening in the winery right now and it's not as if they cannot afford it...

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#359 Post by Tom Blach » February 7th, 2012, 2:38 pm

Typically at London auctions the bottles are stored offsite and do not make it to the auction room. I'n not sure whether this auction will be an exception.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#360 Post by M.Kaplan » February 7th, 2012, 2:42 pm

I read the Corney & Barrow press release as a red-flag warning to stay away; carefully and lawlerly crafted to avoid any claim that they improperly interfered with the Auction.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#361 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » February 7th, 2012, 2:44 pm

M.Kaplan wrote:I read the Corney & Barrow press release as a red-flag warning to stay away; carefully and lawyerly crafted to avoid any claim that they improperly interfered with the Auction.
Fixed, +1. I think it's also fair to say that there could be private discussions, behind the scenes, of a much stronger nature. But again, we're not privy to any of that.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#362 Post by Chris C a r y » February 7th, 2012, 2:45 pm

It seems odd that DRC is now the subject of debate, rather than the auction house(s). Yes, the OP identified issues with DRC wines and they are the most valuable offered, but is anyone expecting the several other producers who long, long ago sold products that are for sale here to provide authenitcation or opinion one way or the other? This seems no different to me than a fine art auction. The experts are the auctioneers and it's their name and reputation at risk, not the original artist.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#363 Post by paul hanna » February 7th, 2012, 3:05 pm

Peter Kleban wrote:
Todd F r e n c h wrote:FYI, this thread has about 34% of the current traffic on the forum...and the traffic is much higher than usual.

I guess it's likely there is a lot of exposure.
And 307 posts in less than 3 days. Is that a record?
Yeah,

I leave this thread to catch a few ours sleep, and when I return, I find I have missed 4 pages worth..... [swearing.gif]

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#364 Post by paul hanna » February 7th, 2012, 3:11 pm

Chris C a r y wrote:It seems odd that DRC is now the subject of debate, rather than the auction house(s). Yes, the OP identified issues with DRC wines and they are the most valuable offered, but is anyone expecting the several other producers who long, long ago sold products that are for sale here to provide authenitcation or opinion one way or the other? This seems no different to me than a fine art auction. The experts are the auctioneers and it's their name and reputation at risk, not the original artist.
Agree.

That's why, with the amount of speculation and mounting evidence against them, they should withdraw the lots from sale, at least as to such time as they can provide more definitive answers to the many questions being asked....

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#365 Post by Lewis Dawson » February 7th, 2012, 3:23 pm

Well, Paul, I don't see any reason the auction could not proceed with lots 1 and 2... [snort.gif]
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#366 Post by Ed Murray » February 7th, 2012, 3:25 pm

Wow! This is really getting some penetration. From WineAuthentication.com:
The fast breaking story on wine fraud has a completely new revelation on the possibility of fraud in a large number of Domaine Romanee Conti wines being offered for sale at auction. The discrepancies on the bottles has now been specifically identified. The diligent research was done by Don Cornwell, who is the author of the previous article, Geoffrey Troy, an Underground Contributing Editor, who has been on the wine fraud story with Ed Lazarus and I for nearly 30 years, and Douglas Barzelay, a well know Burgundy aficionado from New York and others. Don Cornwell, put it all together is his most recent post on Wine Beserkers. I am reprinting it here as an update to the previous report from February 4, 2011 which follows at the end and explains the details of what has been transpiring...
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#367 Post by ky1em!ttskus » February 7th, 2012, 3:31 pm

Don's gone viral! [thumbs-up.gif]

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#368 Post by alderyarrow » February 7th, 2012, 3:32 pm

Hi folks,

I just published an article on Jancisrobinson.Com called "Don Cornwell -- Fine Wine Bidder's Hero" about Don and the allegations of this thread. It would be nothing new to most folks reading here, with the exception that I state that I believe Aubert de Villaine has an imminent obligation to weigh in publicly about these bottles in the face of such detailed allegations. Jancis has sent him every bit of material here, and we know he has received it. We shall see.

Kudos to Don and everyone who's helping him behind the scenes. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

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Here's the teaser on my site and a link to Jancis' site. Apologies for anyone who doesn't have a subscription and can't read the full deal.

http://www.vinography.com/archives/2012 ... e_bid.html

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#369 Post by Ed Murray » February 7th, 2012, 3:36 pm

alderyarrow wrote:Hi folks,

I just published an article on Jancisrobinson.Com called "Don Cornwell -- Fine Wine Bidder's Hero" about Don and the allegations of this thread. It would be nothing new to most folks reading here, with the exception that I state that I believe Aubert de Villaine has an imminent obligation to weigh in publicly about these bottles in the face of such detailed allegations. Jancis has sent him every bit of material here, and we know he has received it. We shall see.

Kudos to Don and everyone who's helping him behind the scenes. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

Alder Yarrow
Vinography.Com

Here's the teaser on my site and a link to Jancis' site. Apologies for anyone who doesn't have a subscription and can't read the full deal.

http://www.vinography.com/archives/2012 ... e_bid.html
I wouldn't expect Aubert to weigh in for liability reasons. I know I'd be VERY reluctant to.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#370 Post by Guillaume Deschamps » February 7th, 2012, 3:44 pm

Don, great work (as usual!)

I believe Google Images can be your friend here.

Example of 1978 RC label:

Image

Spectrum pic:

Image

High res version here

Quite a few differences between the two, including the "-tées" part of "Récoltées" dropping and of course the bottle number font (and even printing technique) being completely different.

Re: Nicolas, even though I have found mentions of "Establissements Nicolas" on the web, the real name is of course "Établissements Nicolas". It's worth remembering that they were involved in fine wine too back in the 60s, I know for a fact that there were great bottles stored in their cellars. So the link isn't totally improbable.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#371 Post by todd waldmann » February 7th, 2012, 3:46 pm

So, here's an interesting hypothetical question:

If you were Rudy K. & had PLENTY of money to live comfortably on & were already involved in at least two major cases where you had been accused of fraud, why on earth would you put yourself at further legal risk by putting up more fraudulent bottles for sale?
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#372 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » February 7th, 2012, 3:48 pm

alderyarrow wrote:Hi folks,

I just published an article on Jancisrobinson.Com called "Don Cornwell -- Fine Wine Bidder's Hero" about Don and the allegations of this thread. It would be nothing new to most folks reading here, with the exception that I state that I believe Aubert de Villaine has an imminent obligation to weigh in publicly about these bottles in the face of such detailed allegations. l
Alder--Just my opinion, but I think the auction houses are the ones who have the "imminent obligation" to respond publicly to Don's detailed comments on the various lots, AND to answer the pointed questions that have been directed to them about the provenance of these bottles. The auction houses are the ones offering them for sale, and the bottles are in their possession (and have been for some time).

Bruce
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#373 Post by Graeme Gee » February 7th, 2012, 3:53 pm

Don Cornwell wrote:I am continuing to investigate the older DRCs but struggling to find bona fide bottles of known provenance for comparison. Most of the 1945 DRC offered in the market in the last 10 years seems to trace back to Mr Kurniawan. I'm hoping for a photo of a 45 RC with unquestionable provenance later today.
Don,
There's supposed to be a 45 DRC RC here in Sydney. It's on the wine-list at Rockpool Bar & Grill (a snip at A$72,000). The restaurant co-owner, and source of most of the cult wines on the list, is American collector David Doyle. No idea of provenance of this bottle. The sommelier is Sophie Otton.
http://www.rockpool.com/wp-content/uplo ... t-PDF1.pdf
She might take a photo for you, or you could ask David, assuming you know him...
cheers,
GG

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#374 Post by dave cuneo » February 7th, 2012, 3:57 pm

todd waldmann wrote:So, here's an interesting hypothetical question:

If you were Rudy K. & had PLENTY of money to live comfortably on & were already involved in at least two major cases where you had been accused of fraud, why on earth would you put yourself at further legal risk by putting up more fraudulent bottles for sale?
How do we know he has plenty of money? His word? Maybe that is part of the scam, or he got cut off by his old man?

Anyway, IF this fellow is a scam artist, and I do not say he is, this is clearly what gets him off. He probably cannot stop even if he wanted to, IF he is such a personality. MAYBE he is totally legit.
IMO, this is Tony Bennett at his finest, singing Burt Bacharach's "Whoever you Are, I Love You" from "Promises, Promises".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPw5nLeD1NQ

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#375 Post by Berry Crawford » February 7th, 2012, 4:00 pm

todd waldmann wrote:So, here's an interesting hypothetical question:

If you were Rudy K. & had PLENTY of money to live comfortably on & were already involved in at least two major cases where you had been accused of fraud, why on earth would you put yourself at further legal risk by putting up more fraudulent bottles for sale?
I think it is a big asumption that he has alot of money. He had to take big loans and defaulted on them.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#376 Post by mstockley » February 7th, 2012, 4:11 pm

Graeme Gee wrote: Don,
There's supposed to be a 45 DRC RC here in Sydney. It's on the wine-list at Rockpool Bar & Grill (a snip at A$72,000). The restaurant co-owner, and source of most of the cult wines on the list, is American collector David Doyle. No idea of provenance of this bottle. The sommelier is Sophie Otton.
http://www.rockpool.com/wp-content/uplo ... t-PDF1.pdf
She might take a photo for you, or you could ask David, assuming you know him...
cheers,
GG
That's a disgustingly overpriced list
M @ r k

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#377 Post by todd waldmann » February 7th, 2012, 4:13 pm

dave cuneo wrote:
todd waldmann wrote:So, here's an interesting hypothetical question:

If you were Rudy K. & had PLENTY of money to live comfortably on & were already involved in at least two major cases where you had been accused of fraud, why on earth would you put yourself at further legal risk by putting up more fraudulent bottles for sale?
How do we know he has plenty of money? His word? Maybe that is part of the scam, or he got cut off by his old man?

Anyway, IF this fellow is a scam artist, and I do not say he is, this is clearly what gets him off. He probably cannot stop even if he wanted to, IF he is such a personality. MAYBE he is totally legit.


I think the question of whether or not he has tons of money was part of the question I had. And of course, the other question is, the one you posed Dave. Maybe it's the thrill.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#378 Post by dave cuneo » February 7th, 2012, 4:52 pm

Todd,

I think so, the same thrill Meinhard Gorke got pwning all the "great critics" of the wine world. Any money made was probably secondary.

(Meinhard Gorke, aka Hardy Rhodenstock).
IMO, this is Tony Bennett at his finest, singing Burt Bacharach's "Whoever you Are, I Love You" from "Promises, Promises".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPw5nLeD1NQ

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#379 Post by WvanGorp » February 7th, 2012, 5:15 pm

Just because Rudy has lived a lavish lifestyle, that doesn't mean he doesn't have money troubles.

Wasn't there an article or published work that gave rise to a dispute of his account of where he went for an education (like the school having no record of him) or something like that?
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#380 Post by Don Cornwell » February 7th, 2012, 5:28 pm

Linden:

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.
Lot 133--High Res(2).jpg
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.)
1945 DRC Label--Dr Lucia(2).jpg
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.
1937 Romanee Conti.jpg
Here, again, the absence of any disclosure about the provenance of this bottle tips the balance for me.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#381 Post by p. raghib » February 7th, 2012, 5:30 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
Chris Doty wrote:I've tried to think about it, Bruce -- please help my understand why DRC wouldn't want to authenticate *ALL* of its bottles globally and throughout time?

Surely the cost of such an exercise would be streamlined for all future bottlings, and would be managable across all existing bottles that needed such analysis (especially compared to how much these bottles sell for). If cost is an issue, the Domaine can obviously demand that the auction house or seller must pay for the authentication in order to get the Domaine's blessing (which, of course, would become SQN for any potential buyer).

I don't buy DRC, but if I did, I would want to be damn sure the juice was legit.

Help me out here...
I'm not sure why anyone would expect DRC to authenticate it's wine. I understand that circumstances seem to beg for it and their wines are among the very most valuable but none of that makes it a requirement for them to track their bottles once they leave the winery. Nor is it upon them to have to prove that this bottle is real or that a fake. They could provide that service for a fee if they like but even in that case I would think it would be quite difficult for them to prove authentication in each and every case. I'm sure for bottles in the last 20-30 years it would be much easier and they might have a procedure for it but when we are talking about bottles that are nearly 70 years old then things become a lot more dicey. It is just an ugly situation all around and I don't think sending pressure DRC's way helps any.
If Ponsot can get on a plane and fly to NYC to stop the Acker auction I can't understand why DRC wouldn't quash this. I buy DRC every year, not at this level but a few btls every year. If I were at this level and I found out after the fact that the Domaine stood by while their loyal consumers were screwed I'd be absolutely FURIOUS.

I don't think they should be in the authentication business on an ongoing basis but an event of this magnitude begs them to actually have a backbone and get involved. I think the idea of liability is laughable, if they said "Lots X,Y,&Z" are incorrect-that would be the end of it. If the consignor contests he'd then have the opportunity.

Don did a fantastic job pinning this down, it is now time for the Domaine to do something. I can't see the auction house pulling the lots-if DRC and their London agent had the opportunity to challenge the authenticity and didn't-why would the auction house? Unfortunately consumers have short memories and there is a lot of money/commissions on the line here. If DRC doesn't stop some of these lots-no one will.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#382 Post by SteveC » February 7th, 2012, 5:41 pm

p. raghib wrote:If DRC doesn't stop some of these lots-no one will.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#383 Post by Nathan L » February 7th, 2012, 5:55 pm

Chris C a r y wrote:It seems odd that DRC is now the subject of debate, rather than the auction house(s). Yes, the OP identified issues with DRC wines and they are the most valuable offered, but is anyone expecting the several other producers who long, long ago sold products that are for sale here to provide authenitcation or opinion one way or the other? This seems no different to me than a fine art auction. The experts are the auctioneers and it's their name and reputation at risk, not the original artist.
Because we have said all we can think of about how atrocious the behavior of spectrum is and are to enthralled to turn off the computers until tomorrow. It is like the superbowl pregame all over again!
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#384 Post by Chris Sihler » February 7th, 2012, 5:58 pm

If these were legit wines, wouldn't the actual consignor step forward? He is trying to get top dollar for the wine I imagine, why not dispel the ugly rumors?

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#385 Post by Nick Gangas » February 7th, 2012, 6:01 pm

DRC cannot be expected to fly around the world authenticating every old bottle that goes up for sale. I do have a suggestion though. If you see a bottle for sale and don't have a detailed account of it's provenance THEN IT'S PROBABLY BULLSHIT. If you have the kind of coin to buy this wine then maybe you should also hire a consultant to authenticate it.

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#386 Post by Dennis Atick » February 7th, 2012, 6:01 pm

I'm just piling on at this point, but Don's work on this is just amazing. [welldone.gif]
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#387 Post by Tom Reddick » February 7th, 2012, 6:03 pm

.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#388 Post by Carrie D » February 7th, 2012, 6:08 pm

Brilliant, Don. Absolutely brilliant.

There are thousands of type fonts out there, but it appears that whoever tried to cut and paste "45" didn't have the DRC house font.
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#389 Post by Tom Reddick » February 7th, 2012, 6:15 pm

.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#390 Post by Lewis Dawson » February 7th, 2012, 6:25 pm

More fantastic work by Don "Mr DRC" Cornwell. Bravo, Don.

One question I have deals with bottles getting labels applied at different times. I don't know if all or most of the production was labelled at bottling and then shipped out, back in the post-WWII era or even the pre-War era? If not, then perhaps the bottled wines lay in the cellars without labels until orders were received, then labelled and shipped? And if this happened, which labels would be used? Were all labels for the 1937 vintage printed in 1939, and the labels were stored until needed? Suppose a case of '37 La Tache was sold in 1945. Would it be labelled with an old label, saved for this purpose? Or might it be labelled with a new label that might have different typeface? And if the latter, would this new label just say Annee 19__ and the domaine would stamp a 3 and a 7 to indicate 1937? If this kind of thing happened "back in the day", might that explain some label differences between these bottles and the exemplar bottles??
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#391 Post by Maureen Downey » February 7th, 2012, 6:25 pm

Tom - Love you but seriously:
And the apologists begin....
Not to digress, but wasn't it pointed out on that other board by BOB himself - that despite Ponsot calling, the auction house kept the lots in the sale until the man himself walked into the room?
Did you read the 2005 intro about the consignor I posted here- that I was told by a top Acker employee was in fact Rudy. The description claims he had the wine for "decades...." I dont think Rudy was even 30 yet in 2005!
"a bad decision" is rather "an understatement" in this case.....
And who has been supporting Rudy? Do you qualify support as loaning him HUGE sums of money? Because I have seen the loan docs.
I just dont get the apologist perspective at this point. It has dragged this crap out too long!
It's time to shine the light and clean the crap up!
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#392 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » February 7th, 2012, 6:27 pm

p. raghib wrote:
If Ponsot can get on a plane and fly to NYC to stop the Acker auction I can't understand why DRC wouldn't quash this. I buy DRC every year, not at this level but a few btls every year. If I were at this level and I found out after the fact that the Domaine stood by while their loyal consumers were screwed I'd be absolutely FURIOUS.

I don't think they should be in the authentication business on an ongoing basis but an event of this magnitude begs them to actually have a backbone and get involved. I think the idea of liability is laughable, if they said "Lots X,Y,&Z" are incorrect-that would be the end of it. If the consignor contests he'd then have the opportunity.

Don did a fantastic job pinning this down, it is now time for the Domaine to do something. I can't see the auction house pulling the lots-if DRC and their London agent had the opportunity to challenge the authenticity and didn't-why would the auction house? Unfortunately consumers have short memories and there is a lot of money/commissions on the line here. If DRC doesn't stop some of these lots-no one will.

-paul
Paul--A couple of things quickly. First, there's an obvious difference between the Ponsot situation and this one. With the Ponsot, the vintages that were being auctioned never existed. It was an extremely black/white situation. Here, even Don isn't claiming lack of authenticity with 100% certainty.

Second, you say "while their loyal customers are getting screwed." None of us know who has bid (or will bid) on this lots, but I rather doubt that the loyal DRC customers are the ones bidding here. Any reasonably knowledgeable collector would have seen the complete lack of provenance information in the catalog and walked away even before Don posted all of his detailed information.

There is going to be a lot of fallout if these lots go forward, and it will be fascinating to see how it all plays out. None of us should assume that we have complete information about what the various players are doing, or why they're doing it........

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#393 Post by c fu » February 7th, 2012, 6:28 pm

Lewis Dawson wrote:More fantastic work by Don "Mr DRC" Cornwell. Bravo, Don.

One question I have deals with bottles getting labels applied at different times. I don't know if all or most of the production was labelled at bottling and then shipped out, back in the post-WWII era or even the pre-War era? If not, then perhaps the bottled wines lay in the cellars without labels until orders were received, then labelled and shipped? And if this happened, which labels would be used? Were all labels for the 1937 vintage printed in 1939, and the labels were stored until needed? Suppose a case of '37 La Tache was sold in 1945. Would it be labelled with an old label, saved for this purpose? Or might it be labelled with a new label that might have different typeface? And if the latter, would this new label just say Annee 19__ and the domaine would stamp a 3 and a 7 to indicate 1937? If this kind of thing happened "back in the day", might that explain some label differences between these bottles and the exemplar bottles??
That's kinda what I was thinking Lew. I'm not sure if back in the day they had the uniformity that we expect now.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#394 Post by BuffaloLou Saad » February 7th, 2012, 6:32 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:FYI, this thread has about 34% of the current traffic on the forum...and the traffic is much higher than usual.

I guess it's likely there is a lot of exposure.
Not a surprise. I started reading this thread today. I'm amazed how many posts in just a couple of days!

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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#395 Post by john richards » February 7th, 2012, 6:40 pm

Charlie Fu wrote:
Lewis Dawson wrote:More fantastic work by Don "Mr DRC" Cornwell. Bravo, Don.

One question I have deals with bottles getting labels applied at different times. I don't know if all or most of the production was labelled at bottling and then shipped out, back in the post-WWII era or even the pre-War era? If not, then perhaps the bottled wines lay in the cellars without labels until orders were received, then labelled and shipped? And if this happened, which labels would be used? Were all labels for the 1937 vintage printed in 1939, and the labels were stored until needed? Suppose a case of '37 La Tache was sold in 1945. Would it be labelled with an old label, saved for this purpose? Or might it be labelled with a new label that might have different typeface? And if the latter, would this new label just say Annee 19__ and the domaine would stamp a 3 and a 7 to indicate 1937? If this kind of thing happened "back in the day", might that explain some label differences between these bottles and the exemplar bottles??
That's kinda what I was thinking Lew. I'm not sure if back in the day they had the uniformity that we expect now.

there were only 600 bottles of the 45 RC to keep track of, not too hard to advance order lables.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#396 Post by J a y C a i n » February 7th, 2012, 6:41 pm

Here's what I don't understand - why would the auction house go forward?

If they are convinced that the wines are authentic, then they can capitalize on all of the press that this has generated, step forward with their proof of authentication, and generate some good publicity for their house and generate some higher prices?

The downside is obvious, of course. If they don't address the problems that Don has brought to the fore, then they look like money-grubbing opportunists.

At what point does your business reputation become more important? In the grand scheme of things, what's the cost of publicly addressing Don's concerns?

On another note, does anyone know how I can short Spectrum?
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#397 Post by Tom Reddick » February 7th, 2012, 6:41 pm

.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#398 Post by Maureen Downey » February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm

A Rudy and a Hardy can only exist if there is a John or Vanquish to sell their wine - after it is told to them that the wines are not correct with strong supporting information.
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#399 Post by Ken V » February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm

Lewis Dawson wrote:More fantastic work by Don "Mr DRC" Cornwell. Bravo, Don.

One question I have deals with bottles getting labels applied at different times. I don't know if all or most of the production was labelled at bottling and then shipped out, back in the post-WWII era or even the pre-War era? If not, then perhaps the bottled wines lay in the cellars without labels until orders were received, then labelled and shipped? And if this happened, which labels would be used? Were all labels for the 1937 vintage printed in 1939, and the labels were stored until needed? Suppose a case of '37 La Tache was sold in 1945. Would it be labelled with an old label, saved for this purpose? Or might it be labelled with a new label that might have different typeface? And if the latter, would this new label just say Annee 19__ and the domaine would stamp a 3 and a 7 to indicate 1937? If this kind of thing happened "back in the day", might that explain some label differences between these bottles and the exemplar bottles??
As I mentioned earlier, I have no expertise on the wines of DRC, so I don't know how different their situation was. Every bottle of I have seen of the 1937 G. Conterno Barolo Riserva has the vintage written by hand. Here are several examples (which have perfect provenance):

http://www.finewinegeek.com/conternog/Baro1937ris.html

Moreover, the wine was kept in foudre until it was purchased, then bottled as required for sale. When they ran out of labels, they got new ones. So any one vintage could have multiple labels. Here are examples of the 1955 Monfortino, some with the older label with the gold band at the top of the label, and some with the newer label:

http://www.finewinegeek.com/conternog/Monf1955.html
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Re: URGENT WARNING--RUDY KURNIAWAN IS TRYING TO AUCTION MORE WINES

#400 Post by SteveC » February 7th, 2012, 6:49 pm

Tom Reddick wrote:
p. raghib wrote:John made a decision, and not an unrational one, and he and Acker paid a bigger price making good for his clients than other guys who are still buying into the myth. There are a couple of people who are deserved kitty litter fodder for playing into this- Kapon is not one of them.
Not sure I agree with you Tom. John enabled some of them, as did others.
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