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Feb. 28, 2014 Issue  :  News

Guilty Verdict in Counterfeiting Trial

Posted: February 28, 2014  By Peter Hellman, Mitch Frank

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Burgundy's Comeback Kid

Nicolas Potel lost his namesake winery five years ago; he's back and making even better wines

Posted: February 6, 2014  By Mitch Frank

The first time I met Nicolas Potel, I was legitimately concerned that his hair would burst into flame at some point during the day we spent together. I was visiting Burgundy in early 2009 to write a story on the négociant, and I found a man busting at the seams with energy, trying to grow his eponymous winery—which had gotten an infusion of capital from new owners—and devote some time to a few small but ambitious side projects.

I came away feeling like Potel, then 40, was going to be a success, if he could hold it all together. But two months after I left, his juggling act came crashing down. The new owners of Maison Nicolas Potel fired Nicolas Potel. (The wines still bear his name today, but he has no role in them.) When I checked in with him before my story appeared, he was putting the pieces back together, launching a new négociant and looking for vineyards to start a small domaine. His energy was still there. But I wondered if it was all too much.

Today, Potel remains full of energy, ambition and ideas. But he also seems more at peace.

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Using Tragedy to Spread Ignorance in Bordeaux

A Chinese businessman's death in Bordeaux was bad enough; now someone wants to use it to scare away foreign château buyers

Posted: January 14, 2014  By Mitch Frank

Chinese businessman Lam Kok's deal to fulfill his dream of owning a Bordeaux château with the purchase of Château La Rivière turned tragic when he and la Rivière's former owner died in a helicopter crash.

Now someone has decided to take advantage of the tragedy. A group calling itself the Agricultural Action Committee has sent a letter to a local newspaper and numerous real-estate agents, claiming that Gregoire "paid with his life for selling the vineyard to a foreign buyer exactly 10 days after we had warned him not to."

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

Italian Authorities Expand Famous Barolo Vineyard

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Mitch Frank

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

Scholarship Foundation Donates $1 Million to Education

FIU hospitality school will train students in Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Lab

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Mitch Frank

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

In Memoriam: Charlie Trotter, 1959–2013

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Mitch Frank

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  News

In Brief: The New York Wine Experience; Auctions Lawsuit

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Mitch Frank, Peter Hellman

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Gaja: Barbaresco and Beyond

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Mitch Frank

Dec. 31, 2013 Issue  :  Features

2013 New York Wine Experience

Thousands gather in the Big Apple for Three Days of Life, Love and Wine

Posted: December 31, 2013  By Mitch Frank

Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Rudy Kurniawan Could Be the Tip of a Fake Wine Crisis

Are counterfeits a victimless crime? Not when they rob us of the pleasure wine can deliver

Posted: December 18, 2013  By Mitch Frank

I love hearing people's "aha!" moments with wine—that instant when they realized that wine is more than just a beverage, that great wine has personality.

Here's a good one: A young man takes his visiting father out for dinner to celebrate dad's birthday. Neither knows much about wine, but the son decides this is a special occasion so he orders the most expensive bottle on the list. The wine—a 1996 Opus One—opens the young man's eyes. Within a few months, he's buying several bottles of Opus One, then other top wines. (Luckily, he has a decent amount of money.) Soon, he's hooked. Wine becomes his passion, and he's attending tastings and collecting rare bottles. Burgundy in particular beguiles him.

Like much of what we know about Rudy Kurniawan, it's hard to tell how much of this story is true and how much he concocted. Kurniawan told this tale to a journalist in 2006, just after an auction of his wines raised $24.7 million, a record for a single-consignor auction. Since he began attending auctions and tastings a decade ago, Kurniawan had always been vague about his origins and his seemingly deep pockets.

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