Wild Scenes on the International Wine Circuit
I have been following with great interest the scandal that has erupted on the international wine scene concerning an alleged fraudster who goes by the pretentious name of Hardy Rodenstock.
Rodenstock, who’s former name was Meinhard Goerke, is presently being sued in the US for fraud concerning 4 bottles of Ch.Lafite 1787 allegedly belonging to Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the USA. Rodenstock also faces a pending grand jury indictment for criminal fraud. Rodenstock states the wine was discovered in a walled-up cellar in Paris. He has steadfastly refused to reveal the address of this cellar.
Besides being the father of the Declaration of Independence and many illegitimate children Jefferson was also the father of wine connoisseurship in America.The bottles are all engraved with the initials “Th .J”. Rodenstock sold these bottles to one Bill Koch ,a Florida Billionaire, for over $500,000. However, following this purchase Koch sought further evidence of their provenance.He engaged Jefferson experts who could not find any reference to Jefferson’s association with the wine. The engravings were also discovered to have been made using a machine from possibly the 1960’s not the 1760’s !
It appears Rodenstock has been bullshitting the fine wine market for almost 30 years.Mainly dealing in hard to find old Bordeaux first growths, and other famous makers including DRC Burgundies as well as such wine a Ch D’YQuem.His speciality appears to be 18th and 19th century wine and other famous vintages but difficult to get such as: ’29,’45,’47,’49 and ’59.
To date, the following are some of the amusing examples of Rodenstock’s alleged activities :
1. Selling a magnum of 1921 Ch Petrus. This sale generated great interest, especially at the Chateau since it never bottled any magnums in 1921 !
2. Allegedly discovering 50 cases of 1945 Ch Latour in Caracas, Venezuela. It has since been reported that Rodenstock’s discovery was truly remarkable because the Chateau never made enough wine in that year to generate 50 cases !
3. Selling a collector 3 magnums of 1929 Ch.Lafleur. Given that only 5 were ever made this hapless collector mathematically estimated the chances of having 3 of them proved conclusively all three are fakes.This was later verified by other experts.
4. Supplying a flash London restaurant a case of 1982 Ch. Petrus (about 3000 pounds a bottle) which was mostly fake. The coup de grace was most amusing because a group of wealthy diners ordered a bottle and found it to be delicious ordering another which they sent back complaining it was off or not authentic.This bottle was replaced with another which they found most agreeable. It was later discovered that the one they sent back was the only one that WAS authentic in the case supplied by Rodenstock!
So much for age characteristics. I will keep you posted on further developments.