Lettie Teague’s Scandal Sheet: Five Common Fake Wines

Brad Goldstein runs a fraud-investigation team on behalf of billionaire wine collector Bill Koch, who was allegedly swindled by Hardy Rodenstock with counterfeit bottles. Although old Bordeaux are the most commonly faked wines, there are more and more fraudulent Burgundies, says Goldstein. Here are five wines he’s found to be most frequently faked.
© Stina Wirsén
© Stina Wirsén

1947 Château Cheval Blanc

“I believe that Serena Sutcliffe, the wine director of Sotheby’s, once said there are more bottles of ’47 Cheval Blanc in the market than were ever produced,” Goldstein remarks of this famous wine from St-Émilion.

1811 Château d’Yquem

This legendary Sauternes “wasn’t in the market until the 1970s. In fact, the 1811 was nonexistent until Rodenstock ‘rediscovered’ it,” says Goldstein.

1924 Château Mouton Rothschild

This was the first year that Mouton estate-bottled its wines; any supposedly estate-bottled wines from before this vintage are undeniably fake, says Goldstein.

1921 Château Pétrus

Pétrus (especially in a magnum) is a favorite of fraudsters. Goldstein has seen all kinds of fake Pétrus, including bottles with capsules the wrong color and labels made from artificially aged paper.

1952 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche

“We’re seeing more and more fake DRCs,” Goldstein says of this great grand cru domaine. It’s “the favorite Burgundy property” for counterfeiters, he says.

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PUBLISHED October 2008

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