...Merchants in Britain and Belgium, upon receiving new vintages from Bordeaux and Burgundy, habitually blended in wines from other vintages (and sometimes other places) in order to make the new arrivals more pleasing to their clients. This wasn't necessarily viewed as cheating; it was considered good customer service. Meadows estimates that about 20 percent of the older wines he tastes nowadays show signs of having been so doctored. Several years ago, he sampled a négociant-bottled 1959 Grands-Echezeaux (a grand cru red Burgundy) in the company of the firm's current director, who freely admitted that the wine included some 1985 Grands-Echezeaux.
"Energy executive and wine collector William Koch has taken his personal crusade to clean up the collectible wine business to the Windy City, filing a lawsuit on Friday that accuses both the Chicago Wine Company and Julienne Importing of selling him counterfeit wine.
Koch claims that from 1987 to 1990, the Chicago Wine Company, a retailer and auction house, sold him 15 bottles of counterfeit wine for $150,000, including a bottle of 1787 Château Branne Mouton (now Mouton-Rothschild) that may have been owned by Thomas Jefferson. The lawsuit also alleges that 14 bottles of wine Koch purchased for $63,000, which were imported by Julienne and sold by the Chicago Wine Company and other retailers, are also counterfeit. Ironically, Koch was a major investor in the Chicago Wine Company for seven years.
...The Chicago suit is the third in Koch's campaign. He is currently suing Hardy Rodenstock, the German wine dealer who claims he found the Jefferson bottles, for fraud in federal court in New York. Koch bought a total of four Jefferson bottles. He is also suing Zachys Wine Auctions and wealthy California collector Eric Greenberg in New York over alleged counterfeits from Greenberg's cellars he bought at Zachys auctions. Since he began investigating the authenticity of the Jefferson bottles, Koch has had experts examining his entire collection
...Koch's court filings in Chicago show how serious he was to build a sizable collection. Invoices show that Koch purchased several hundred rare wines from the Chicago Wine Company between 1987 and 1991, spending well over $1 million. The lawsuit also details why Koch's experts think the 15 wines from the Chicago Wine Company are fake. For example, several wines from the 1800s and early 1900s are allegedly in bottles with seamed mold marks on the bottom, a type of bottle not manufactured until the 1930s. A magnum of Château Pétrus 1945 has the vintage stamped on the label while the label on a magnum of Latour 1959 has creases and air bubbles from the wrong glue."
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