brunello controversy

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Blogs  :  Mixed Case: Opinion and Advice

Does the Counterfeits Crusader Deserve Our Thanks?

Bill Koch has spent eight years and millions of dollars picking fights over wine

Posted: March 28, 2013  By Mitch Frank

The picture is still hanging in my office: Bill Koch, the energy executive who has made fighting sales of counterfeit rare wines a personal obsession, stares menacingly at me, wearing a cowboy hat, a bandana and a sheriff's star. The shot was taken when Wine Spectator photographed Koch for our Dec. 15, 2009, cover story, "The Crusade Against Counterfeits." The outfit was Koch's idea: In addition to wine, he collects Old West memorabilia.

In the end, we opted for a shot of Koch in a suit, holding a magnum of Château Pétrus 1921. Koch says he bought that bottle at a 2005 Zachys auction of 17,000 bottles of wine from the cellar of California tech entrepreneur Eric Greenberg. Koch alleges that Greenberg bought it from Royal Wine Merchants, and Royal sourced it from German wine broker Hardy Rodenstock. Koch believes it’s a fake.

That magnum, and all those players, are back in the headlines this week, as a jury of six men and two women hear Koch v. Greenberg in a Manhattan federal court. Koch has been suing Greenberg for six years over 24 bottles he bought for almost $350,000 at that auction, wines he says are counterfeit. (Contributor Peter Hellman, who has doggedly pursued this topic, has written an excellent summary of the case.)

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Alleged Counterfeit Wines Go on Trial

Bill Koch will finally bring a case to court, suing collector Eric Greenberg over 24 rare wines he says are fakes

Posted: March 25, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  News

Montalcino's Argiano Has New Owners

Noemi Marone Cinzano sells to undisclosed investors so she can focus on her Argentine property

Posted: February 11, 2013  By Bruce Sanderson

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Kurniawan Loses Bid to Exclude Counterfeiting Evidence

Federal judge rules that FBI had probable cause to search defendant's home; trial could be scheduled at a hearing next month

Posted: January 17, 2013  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  News

Vandals Destroy Six Vintages of Case Basse's Brunello di Montalcino

Someone emptied all the casks, dumping out 16,500 gallons of wine; no motive for crime

Posted: December 4, 2012  By Bruce Sanderson

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Justice Department Rejects Kurniawan's Illegal Search Accusations

Court filing asserts that FBI agents had reason to sweep his home; includes photos of alleged "counterfeiting lab"

Posted: November 8, 2012  By Peter Hellman

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Indicted Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Accuses FBI of Illegal Search

New details of arrest emerge as lawyers try to exclude evidence from "counterfeiting lab"

Posted: October 16, 2012  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  News

Court Dismisses Collector's Suit On 'Jefferson Bordeauxs'

Judges find Bill Koch waited too long to accuse Christie's of selling counterfeits

Posted: October 8, 2012  By Mitch Frank

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Accused Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Fighting Feds' Case

Defense lawyers asking judge to toss evidence obtained in FBI search of Kurniawan's home

Posted: September 12, 2012  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  News

Burgundy Shaken by Fraud Accusations

A leading négociant is accused of illegally blending and mislabeling 1.5 million bottles

Posted: June 15, 2012  By Suzanne Mustacich

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Alleged Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Indicted

Federal grand jury hands down charges against the wine collector; he could be extradited to New York soon

Posted: May 10, 2012  By Peter Hellman

Collecting  :  Collecting News

FBI Arrests Wine Collector Rudy Kurniawan

U.S. attorney accuses Indonesia-born Burgundy lover of trying to sell $1.3 million in fakes

Posted: March 9, 2012  By Peter Hellman

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Bogus Burgundies?

Rare bottles are pulled from a London auction after collectors raise questions about authenticity

Posted: February 9, 2012  By Peter Hellman

News & Features  :  News

Fighting Fake Bordeaux

There's no law to stop Chinese wineries from producing "Bordeaux;" the French are trying to change that

Posted: November 8, 2011  By Suzanne Mustacich

News & Features  :  News

No Merlot di Montalcino

Brunello winemakers reject a plan to allow grapes other than Sangiovese in Rosso di Montalcino

Posted: September 9, 2011  By Mitch Frank

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

More Brunello, Young and Old

Notes from several Brunello verticals I've tasted since returning from Italy in April

Posted: August 29, 2011  By Bruce Sanderson

Since my visit to Tuscany in April, I have had opportunities to taste quite a few Brunellos di Montalcino thanks to visiting producers. The first was Col d'Orcia, whose export manager Paola Tealdi presented six vintages of its single-vineyard Poggio al Vento Riserva. Lunch with Riccardo Illy of the Illy coffee company provided the setting for an introduction to his Montalcino estate, Mastrojanni. Francesco Ripaccioli, whose family owns the Canalicchio di Sopra estate, stopped by Wine Spectator's office with almost a dozen bottles spanning 2006 to 1995, including the recently bottled 2006 Riserva.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Moon Over Montalcino: Part 2

From Uccelliera, the tiny jewel “birdcage,” to Montalcino’s largest estate, American-owned Castello Banfi

Posted: June 21, 2011  By Bruce Sanderson

I spent two days in Montalcino during my trip to Tuacany. I toured the region with Stefano Campatelli, the director of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino and visited five estates. Here are my notes on my last three visits, to Uccelliera, Siro Pacenti and Castello Banfi.

Blogs  :  Bruce Sanderson Decanted

Moon Over Montalcino: Part 1

Tuscany’s most celebrated appellation features diverse landscapes and wines. Biond-Santi represents the tradition

Posted: June 1, 2011  By Bruce Sanderson

I spent two days in Montalcino during my trip to Tuacany. I toured the region with Stefano Campatelli, the director of the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino and visited five estates. Campatelli also organized a blind tasting of 16 Brunellos, mostly from the 2006 vintage, and nine Rossos, all from 2009. At dinner with the consorzio directors later that evening, we enjoyed some older vintages of Brunello riservas, including Biondi-Santi's dating back to 1955. Here are my notes.

Collecting  :  Collecting News

Judge Dismisses Koch Suit Against Christie's

If wine collector believed bottle was fake when he bought it, he can't claim fraud, judge finds

Posted: March 21, 2011  By Mitch Frank

News & Features  :  News

China’s Fake Ice Wine Epidemic

Sources estimate 80 percent of ice wine on sale may be fake, a sign of the dangers in a young but lucrative wine market

Posted: February 3, 2011  By Ben O'Donnell

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