This is completely false. I immediately followed up with Martine after Mr. Levy initially posted his allegations in this thread about Hart Davis Hart, Allan Frischman and former Assistant US Attorney Jason Hernandez. Martine told him that Consolidated did not import Leroy during the period that Martine was the importer for Leroy, which was from September 1987 onward.[Jef Levy:] 1. Martine Saunier wrote me that: "CONSOLIDATED NEVER IMPORTED LEROY."
The bottle in question, which had an import strip listing the fluid quantity as 730 ml, meaning that the bottle was imported in the 1974-77 time frame, was imported at least ten years before Martine became Leroy’s official importer. Martine Saunier did not tell Mr. Levy that Consolidated did not import the wine prior to the time period that Martine became Leroy's exclusive reporter.
Prior to 1982, Leroy and DRC were generally co-marketed in the US through the same authorized importers. Thus, if you look at the available photos on the web, you can find bottles of Leroy SA wines from vintages in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s which bear the strip labels from the following DRC importers: Wilson-Daniels (1979 to 1982), Domaine Chandon, Lastella Importing, de Villaine & Leroy (based in NY), and Wine Marketing Ltd. (Rhode Island). You can also find myriad bottles of Leroy SA wines from the 50’s and 60’s bearing the strip labels of all of the usual gray market importers, including Wine Cellars, Ltd, Allyn & Scott (same owner as Wine Cellars, Ltd.), Atherton Wine Imports and Connoisseur Wine Imports.
On December 17, 1981, Lalou Bize Leroy and her family formed a California corporation named Leroy, Inc., which is engaged in business as an importer and distributor of wines. Leroy, Inc. was located, and still is located, in San Rafael California. Beginning in 1982, the Leroy wines were separately imported and distributed apart from DRC. Martine’s Wines became the exclusive importer in September 1987 and had the same warehouse address as Leroy, Inc. in San Rafael.
During the period from at least 1966 through 1978, Consolidated Distilled Products, based in Chicago, was one of the largest DRC importers. In 1978, Wilson-Daniels became the exclusive US importer of DRC and also imported Leroy. It is my understanding that Consolidated Distilled Products imported Leroy in addition to DRC like most of the other official DRC importers of that era, but I do not have any photographic proof of that statement other than the bottle sold by HDH to Jef Levy. There is absolutely no reason to believe, based on that strip label, that the bottle is counterfeit – and Martine Saunier never told Jef Levy otherwise.
Once again Mr. Levy purports to rely on alleged unnamed experts who supposedly told him things. There is no more reason to believe this statement is true than the clearly false statements he attributed to Martine Saunier and Lalou Bize Leroy, or his absolutely false statement that the Acker auction tag had been removed from the bottle prior to its sale to him. See below[Jef Levy:] 2. The #1 BURGUNDY EXPERT IN THE WORLD wrote me that:
A. In the hundreds/thousands of Leroy bottles he has examined he has never seen a CONSOLIDATED strip and it is "totally incorrect"
This is complete BS. The cork in question matches the corks used on all of the Leroy SA bottlings prior to the 1998 vintage. As explained previously, Leroy SA never used corks branded with the vintage prior to the 1998 vintage. Instead, all of the corks, including the 1955 Chambertin, were the same generic Leroy corks. On the other hand, the counterfeit bottles of 1955 Leroy Chambertin that Mr. Levy bought from Rudy Kurniawan, did have 1955 stamped on them (incorrectly.) See below.[Jef Levy:] B. The cork does not bear any resemblance to any 1955 cork he has ever seen -- not the appropriate seepage.
Again, this claim is complete BS. As I pointed out in my initial response to Mr. Levy's accusations posted in this thread, the label on the bottle sold to Mr. Levy identically matches the bottle of 1955 Leroy Chambertin purchased by my friend John Tilson more than 30 years ago, which was consumed at a dinner with another friend of mine (John Brincko) in November 2015. Below that is a 1955 Mazis Chambertin from Leroy imported by Domaine Chandon (note the 730 ml tag on the strip label) purchased in the 1970s and consumed at the same dinner.[Jef Levy:] C. The label looks wrong
Bottle Mr. Levy Purchased from HDH - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Bottle from John Tilson's Cellar
This is the biggest lie of all. Martine had no such conversations with Mr. Levy and neither did Lalou Bize Leroy.[Jef Levy:] D. Also, with re: to cork: Martine and Bize-Leroy themselves told me that all 1955 corks were stamped 1955 in honor of Henri Leroys death that year -- it was the one exception until they began stamping the vintage on corks many years later
This statement by Jef Levy is a complete lie at multiple levels. The most obvious falsehood in Mr. Levy’s claim about his alleged conversation with Lalou Leroy is that she told him that her father died in 1955. Lalou Leroy’s father, Henri Leroy, lived from 1894 to 1980. The Leroy website itself confirms that Henri Leroy died in 1980, not in 1955. http://www.domaine-leroy.com/homepage/ Obviously, Lalou Bize-Leroy never told Jef Levy that her father died in 1955, some 25 years before his actual death.
Nor did Ms. Leroy ever tell Jeff Levy that the 1955 vintage corks were stamped with the vintage or the vineyards. As set forth in one of my prior posts, in response to Mr. Levy’s initial claims in this thread, I contacted multiple wine critics, including two who had tasted the 1955 Leroy wines at Lalou Leroy’s celebration of her 60th anniversary of Leroy in May of 2015. No one had any recollection of such cork branding. In order to get a definitive answer about Levy’s claim that the 1955 vintage was uniquely branded with the vintage and the vineyard, Jancis Robinson wrote an email to Lalou Leroy last Friday, with a copy to me. Her email stated in relevant part:
Lalou Leroy responded to Jancis’ email stating, in pertinent part (in French), as follows:[Jancis Robinson:] I wonder whether you could tell us whether the corks of Leroy 1955 Chambertin were branded either ‘1955’ or ‘Chambertin’?
This would be immensely helpful,
With many thanks in advance,
Lalou Bize-Leroy was sufficiently concerned about the false statements being made by Mr. Levy, and his continued prosecution of the litigation against Hart Davis Hart, that she authorized Eric Espuny from Leroy to testify at the trial that the 1955s should not have the vintage on the cork. He was also going to testify that at that time there were no national exclusives for importers so the Consolidated label was not problematic in that regard. This information from Leroy was all passed on to Jef Levy by by Allan Frischman of Hart Davis Hart, but Mr. Levy refused to accept it. By virtue of Levy's voluntary dismissal of the action, Mr. Espuny never had to testify.[Lalou Bize-Leroy:] In the past, Maison Leroy simply put “Une mise de Leroy” on its corks. We started to mark the appellations and vintages on the corks of Maison Leroy wines with the 1998 vintage.
In his latest revisionist history about why he was allegedly defrauded by Hart Davis Hart (despite having voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit), Mr. Levy conveniently omitted one of his initial claims about the alleged intentional fraud by Hart Davis Hart, which was as follows:
Once again Mr. Levy's statement is absolutely false. If you look on the HDH website for this auction, they had three photos of this lot – the bottle from the front, an enlarged version of the primary label and the back of the bottle and back label (which also appears correct.) https://auction.hdhwine.com/lots/view/1 ... ison-leroy The photo of the back of the bottle very clearly contains the Acker sticker that Levy claims was missing.[Jef Levy:] “What’s even more interesting is that the ACKER auction sticker had been removed when I received the wine (I was only able to discover that the wine was originally purchased from Acker through private investigation), and through the admission of lawyer Jason Hernandez himself, in writing.”
Photos from the HDH Auction website [Note: I cropped these two photos from their very large size to make them usable here]
Additionally, the photos that Jef Levy took of the bottle before it was consumed, which he posted on his Acme Food and Wine blog (now conveniently removed), show the same round Acker sticker was on the back of the bottle. On the left below is one of the photos from Levy’s blog site in which the round Acker sticker is visible through the bottle. On the right below is a photo of the the same bottle when Mr. Levy brought it to New York and consumed it with John Kapon and other friends of his.
Photo posted by Jef Levy on his Blog site - Note the round label on the rear of the bottle --------Photo taken and posted by John Kapon when the wine was consumed – Sticker is still there
Here I will posit two questions. Mr. Levy claimed in his initial post in this thread that the fact that there was an Acker sticker was on the bottle was a sign that the bottle was counterfeit. He claimed that the intentional fraud by Hart Davis consisted in part of allegedly removing that sticker and concealing it from the prospective purchasers. Obviously, the Acker Merrall sticker was never removed. If Mr. Levy believed that an Acker sticker on the bottle flagged it as a likely counterfeit, as he claimed in his initial post here, why did he proceed to consume the bottle? And why on earth was he drinking that same allegedly suspect bottle at a party with John Kapon?
Another one of Mr. Levy’s claims in his initial post was that
As pointed in one of my prior posts viewtopic.php?p=2986964#p2986964, the reason that Jef Levy believed that the bottle he purchased from Hart Davis Hart tasted different than the 1955 Chambertin that he was familiar with is because all of the bottles that Jef Levy had previously tasted were Rudy Kurniawan counterfeits. Quoting from Peter Hellman's book, In Vino Duplicitas:[Jef Levy:] “Every single wine expert at that dinner was very suspect … the wine did not taste like 55 Leroy Chambertin (which Jay and I have shared more than a dozen times)….”
According to Peter Hellman, Levy confirmed with Martine Saunier at that time that San Rafael had not been misspelled on the authentic labels imported by Martine's Wines.[from In Vino Duplicitas:] Word of Kurniawan's arrest disquieted collector friends who had stood by him even after his faux Ponsot stumble four years earlier. One loyalist was Jefery Levy. In 2005, Levy was planning to fly to New York to attend the fiftieth-birthday party of novelist and wine writer Jay McInerney. He wanted to gift McInerney with a rare birth-year wine that had wowed them before: 1955 Leroy Chambertin, a grand cru from one of Burgundy's most revered domaines. * * *
"I was looking for a few bottles of the 1955 Chambertin to bring to Jay, but none were for sale in the world," Levy says. "I did have the wine once with Rudy, so I called him and asked if by chance he had a bottle or two that I could buy from him direct."
"Dude, you are in luck," Kurniawan told Levy. "I have a full sealed OWC [original wooden case]. But I'm not going to sell unless you buy it all." Levy bought the case and brought a few bottles to the McInerney's party. They were "amazing." When McInerney visited Levy in Los Angeles, they drank a few more. Levy calls it "a bonding thing."
After learning of Kurniawan's arrest, Levy inspected his remaining six bottles of the 1955 Chambertin. His eye fell on a misspelling of "San Rafael," the location, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, of Domaine Leroy's importer, Martine's Wines.
Reading Jef Levy's description of the wine in his initial post, you would likely assume that the bottle from Hart Davis was not a good wine. But, quite to the contrary, Mr. Levy has admitted on social media posts that it was a great bottle. In an Instagram post by Jef Levy made in January 2020 about a "Dinner at Atomix with the usual NYC suspects, celebrating two birthdays (J mac and mrs K). Really fun night."
https://www.picterio.com/media/22221672 ... 212755436 and also https://www.picuki.com/profile/jeferylevy, Mr. Levy stated that:
John Kapon also separately posted about the 1955 Leroy Chambertin and rated it as a 97 point wine and a “pretty damn fine wine.”[Jef Levy:] After party featured a great mag of 90 Chave, a "who knows what's in there but it's pretty dam good" bottle of 55 Leroy Chambertin in honor of j mac's birthday (I thought the 91 Leroy chambertin was real and very good).
* * * *
So Jef Levy took a bottle of 1955 Leroy Chambertin bearing an Acker Merrall sticker that Levy claimed was a red flag for a likely counterfeit to a party with the evil villain John Kapon himself in attendance. Levy and Kapon and their friends drank the bottle and allegedly all agreed that the bottle did not taste like the 1955 Leroy Chambertin they had consumed previously -- known to be Rudy Kurniawan bottles in Levy's case. (But Levy admits that the HDH bottle was a "pretty dam[n] good" wine.) He then proceeded to throw away the allegedly counterfeit bottle, and shortly thereafter asserted a claim against Hart Davis Hart. Levy's claim included a whole series of outright lies about what others in the industry had allegedly told him in order to claim that the wine was counterfeit. When his extortionate settlement demand was refused, he filed a lawsuit. When the case was called for trial, and his house of lies was collapsing, Levy voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, just as I predicted here months ago would happen. Despite the voluntary dismissal, Mr. Levy is back here once again trying to claim that the wine was counterfeit and that HDH defrauded him.
All I can say is that in addition to his other character elements which so endeared him to viewers of Sour Grapes, based on what happened in this case, Jef Levy appears to be a pathological liar.