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Isn’t it amazing how many bottles of “200-year-old” Chateau d’Yquem keep popping up? Julian LeCraw didn’t think so.
Mr. LeCraw claimed in a recent lawsuit in Atlanta that the Chateau d’Yquem and 14 other rare bottles he bought were nothing more than “worthless glass containing unknown fluids.” The collector, who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the bottles in 2006 and 2007, is suing the seller, the Antique Wine Company, based in London, for $25 million.
“He really enjoyed buying these wines, which are really like pieces of art,” said Mr. LeCraw’s lawyer, Shea Sullivan. “Mr. LeCraw didn’t believe in a million years that he was being sold fake wine….”
“As the wine has gotten more expensive, more people have taken interest in copying it,” said Mark Solomon, fine wine director at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales and a co-founder of Truebottle.com, a site that helps consumers spot counterfeits.
“Some of these counterfeits are very good, and they’re getting better and better,” Mr. Solomon added. “Upon taste, it’s generally easier to tell. But unfortunately, when you taste a wine, you’ve already purchased it….”
Ms. Downey concluded that some of the labels on the bottles he had purchased from the Antique Wine Company, supposedly centuries old, had been printed by computer, according to the lawsuit. It said she also found irregularities in the glue, the corks, the shape and color of the bottles, and the color of the wine.
Officials who later studied the bottle agreed that the wine was a fake, along with another bottle from that vineyard that Mr. LeCraw had purchased from the Antique Wine Company. Another vineyard, the Château Lafite Rothschild, declared 12 other bottles “faux, faux, faux,” according to the lawsuit.