57 vintages of Petrus

Interesting story by Jay McInerny, a tasting of Petrus out on the Island. dc.

The growing fame of Pétrus would eventually raise the profile of Pomerol, the village on the right bank of the Garonne River made up of small estates.

Hmm, and all this time I thought Pomerol was on the right bank of the Dordogne. I guess connections and not knowledge get comped visits to these type of events. [tease.gif]


His citation of John Kapon to confirm the authenticity of the wines stuck in my throat. Kapon/Acker had sold the wines in a Hong Kong auction to the guy who was selling them via this tasting and Acker managed the tasting. In other words, Kapon has made money on these wines at least twice. And what are the odds that all 57, including the '47 and the '61, are real?

Given the fact that McInerney was comped at this $17,500 event and had attended and written about other Kapon/Acker extravaganza tastings in the past (comped?), this had a bad odor to me.

Down here in the Carolinas, Jay’s old squeeze has been in the news a lot lately:

The body that drove John Edwards mad: Rielle Hunter struts in her swimsuit in EXCLUSIVE pictures as she reveals ‘extraordinary’ first night in presidential candidate’s hotel room
12:04 EST, 19 June 2012
Rielle Hunter pictured in her bathing suit as she reveals sex life with John Edwards | Daily Mail Online

EXCLUSIVE: Pictured together in public for the first time, John Edwards and his ‘precious’ daughter Quinn spend Father’s Day frolicking on the beach
12:17 EST, 19 June 2012
John Edwards and precious Quinn on beach on Father's Day | Daily Mail Online

EXCLUSIVE: John Edwards pictured with the mistress and the secret daughter who cost him everything - but are still so ‘precious’
12:18 EST, 19 June 2012
Pictured: John Edwards lays a kiss on mistress Rielle as they spend beach weekend away with daughter Quinn | Daily Mail Online

Devastated Rielle Hunter reveals she has SPLIT from John Edwards… then faces TV humiliation from ladies of The View who brand her ‘scheming, heartless and a liar’
07:34 EST, 26 June 2012
Rielle Hunter reveals that she and John Edwards 'are no longer a couple as of last week' | Daily Mail Online

Cate Edwards ‘issued her father an ultimatum telling him he had to dump Rielle or lose her as his daughter’
10:06 EST, 27 June 2012
John Edwards' daughter Cate 'issued ultimatum telling him to dump Rielle Hunter or lose her' | Daily Mail Online

BTW, if you want some really first rate trivia: Jay’s old squeeze’s FATHER provided [u]the inspiration for[/u] the subtheme in [u]Season 4 of the Sopranos[/u] involving the murder of thoroughbred racing horses so as to collect the insurance money on them, which ultimately resulted in [u]the infamous demise[/u] of Ralph Cifaretto.

“In 2011 Mr. Alexander, who told me he actually favors California wines, bought a vertical collection of Pétrus, spanning almost all the vintages from 1945 to the present, for the sum of $HK1.6 million, or about $200,000.”

I stopped reading after that sentence. Why put on a tasting of wines you deem second rate ?

NS has clearly lost it… [smileyvault-ban.gif]

John makes a very interesting point re: John Kapon.

What is the general consensus around here on Jay’s level of integrity and expertise? I don’t have much experience with his wine journalism. After having found the few articles of his that I have read incredibly dull (not Lettie Teague level, but still pretty uninspiring) I don’t look at his column.

I was just contemplating the economics of this tasting.

Suppose you have 14 tasters – the most you can get out of a bottle with any kind of pour. That would net $245,000. Leslie Anderson paid $200,000 for the wines. Assuming that sum includes the buyer’s premium, he’s probably just breaking even by the time he pays for the meals with the tasting and for the facility, and possibly a fee to Acker for its management of the event. (Was Acker paid to manage the tasting, or did Kapon just volunteer its help as a promotional effort for Acker?)

I suppose maybe Anderson figured that at $200K he’d be able to syndicate the bottles, in effect, by holding a tasting and get to taste a lot of Petrus for close to no cost. That would make sense. But McInerney says he was comped at the last minute, which suggest this didn’t work out as planned. There was pretty no margin for error here.

The other thing I keep pondering is the auction price: $200K for 57 wines = $3,800 a bottle. That seems awfully cheap, even allowing for the fact that many were recent vintages. Does that reflect skepticism about old Petrus? About old wines auctioned by Acker?

The picture in the WSJ article shows fewer than 14 servings – about 10. Suckling must have been comped and if Alexander and his wife showed up, that leaves very few people who paid. (Did Hamburger or Kapon show up and get comped, too?) Remember, proceeds were to go to a charity. Did Alexander donate the wines to the charity taking the full $245K or 200K deduction? If so, I hope the IRS is on this (but probably not, unless they are auditing Alexander otherwise).

I usually take anything he writes with a Dead Sea’s worth of salt. There’s a long, long list of other writers (and countless posters on here) I’d look to first for expertise and insight.

And as John Morris points out, he’s been at various other Kapon/Acker extravaganzas - in some cases, there’ve been fawning, starry eyed writeups afterwards like this.

I’m curious whether any of his journalism has focused on some of the questions raised over Kapon/Acker’s record of fraudulent bottles sold at auctions lately…

Or maybe following the auction he realized that much of the wine was likely fake so he decided to try to recoup his money by organizing the tasting rather than trying to put the bottles back up at auction only to be turned away due to authenticity issues. Kapon agreed to assist at no cost with organizing such an event rather than have the house potentially refund any part of the auction lot due to potential fakes. Everyone wins. Now the bottles have been opened, consumed, discarded and no one is the wiser. Who is it that doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?

And there are five wine shippers sitting on Rudy Kurniawan’s front porch, delivered by FedEx, no adult signature required because the bottles are empty… [smileyvault-ban.gif]

Wtf the captioned picture in the article isn’t even the correct pertrus…looks like la fleur petrus

Strictly speaking, it’s on the right bank of the Garonne (and Gironde) as well [snort.gif]

Just posted on another board and figured I would put it here as well. Conspiracy theories aside, I know one of the attendees and recently caught up and got some impressions and notes from the event. He isn’t big on formal notes so take them for what they are worth.

Each bottle was in individual OWC.

In terms of cost, I don’t think that someone who once had a net worth in the billions, worries too much about making a profit or breaking even on an event like this. The intent was to shed light on the new private wine storage an tasting facility where this event took place. Below is a cut and paste from what i posted elsewhere

The main purpose of the event was to shed light / exposure on Leslie Alexander’s new private tasting locale. No expense was spared in the construction of this.

The format was 1 bottle each shared by about 10-12 people. There were a few more on Friday vs. Saturday.

James Suckling led the discussions for the most part but it was more or less an open round table debate.

Friday night:

97- a nice start to the epic weekend
94-impressive for the vintage
93 - lift off and then crash
92- blah, not impressed
88-90 points
87- not a whole lot going on, possibly oxidized

86- super ripe
85 - beautiful and then fell apart
84 - no thanks
83 - Check +
81 - funky, corked?
80- uneventful

07- alcoholic nose
06- bleh
04- too young
02 - ?

99- early heat, young but delicious
98- kicks ass
96- ok
95 - disappears just like INXS

90- the debate
89-the debate

05 - strong possibilities
03 - yum yum
01 - thumbs up a nice secret
00- another 90??

all wines were consumed and the result was intoxication

Saturday Afternoon - back up on the saddle with a different approach. its a shame to spit but due to the amount of wine being consumed and the desire to be able to remember the oldies, most in attendance opted to spit

77-very dry, not a whole lot going on
74-nice nose
69- decent finish
68 - pinot noir like

63-weird, metallic
60- corked
57 - another weird bottle, like a bandaid
54- VA
51-ok nose, slight hint of fish but drinkable

78- tannic
76 - happy birthday
75- very nice - 95+

71 - corked
70 - wonderful finish 95
66- bacon flavor, chewy 94+

67-ok tannins, no fruit left, like saggin breasts
64- poor storage / heat
62- very elegant, a gorgeous lady depsite being overshadowed by her younger sister

59 - rough at first but opened up
55- ox
53- pure class
52 - corked

49- fresh and mature, you can totally taste the bottle age
48 - no slouch
47 - the BOMB 100pts.
45 - worth the price of admission, cue start of fireworks

tidbits - L.Alexander was an incredibly gracious host. very few other wines were actually discussed over the weekend but SQN was a topic of discussion (L.A. is a big fan)


thanks for the notes - sounds like you had a great time.

What’s the connection between the owner of the wines and the wine storage place?

It could be that the buyer figured he could, in effect, syndicate the purchase and get to taste all the wines at a fairly modest cost … while deducting the loss since this was effectively an investment.

What’s striking about the tasting notes is how many bad bottles there were … and how fresh and stellar the 45, 47, 49, 53 and 61 were. Of course, those are precisely the ones most likely to be counterfeited.

As I understand it, Leslie Alexander bought the wines at an Acker hong kong auction some time in the past 2 years. Leslie owns the storage facility where the event was held. I believe all of the wines were originally owned by 1 European collector who purchased them direct from winery on release. This event was a kickoff of the new facility and a pretty impressive way to start off with a bang.