Italian police seize thousands of bottles of counterfeit "super Tuscan" wine

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…and none of the consumers of said wine would have noticed anyway. Wine tasting is one of those things everyone takes for granted as being real, but fails every properly blinded test it is subjected to. In one double-blinded test, the professional tasters couldn’t even tell the difference between red and white. The whole field is about 20% grapes, 80% bullshit.


Sounds like criminal mastermind Rudy Kurniawan is at it again! Which is fine by me, as long as the victims continue to be rich a-holes like Bill Koch.


Collecting wine has to be ripe with opportunities for counterfeits and fraud. Like sports memorabilia, among other collecting “investments.”


Absolutely, especially since most victims of this type of fraud would actually prefer NOT to find out that they were cheated. Check out the documentary Sour Grapes.


You may know this already, but the tax laws in Ontario make it worthwhile to make one’s own wine, and there are shops set up to do that, so “making” the wine consists of bottling and labeling once the wine is ready, and not everyone bothers with the labels.

The last batch of red we made was a super Tuscan, and after aging for two years it has turned out very nice. It cost us about $7.00CDN per bottle. I probably couldn’t tell it from the version the 1%ers drink.

We went to a tasting once with friends, one of whom fancies himself a connoisseur. We had to identify six wines from two possible choices each. I got two out of six, probably about chance. Our friend scored one, and explained in detail afterwards why, for example, the Riesling didn’t taste like a typical Riesling.


I think you’re definitely right on that ratio, but I shared a bottle of super Tuscan cabernet that cost more than I would ever have spent had it been my own money or an expense account I had to answer for, and it made me reconsider my thoughts on a benevolent god. It was truly sublime. And I recognize that people who describe a wine like that deserve to be slapped, but it was.


This is an entertaining read about another wine fraudster who scammed Bill Koch.


But the question is, would you have felt that way if you didn’t know what it was, weren’t in that pleasant situation, or knew how much it cost. The research says “nope” very clearly.

No judgement here- I’ve had those moments too, and I like wine. I just try to keep in mind that it’s all in my head and there’s nothing objective about it. Even the top pros can’t tell the difference between a $2 bottle and a $500 bottle when they don’t know what it is.

It’s all theater, basically. But theater is fun! We all like theater, except at airports. :grinning:


I’ve had bottles that cost between ten and fifteen pounds which were lovely, and ones that cost three hundred that tasted like vinegary piss.



Actually you can buy the Bolgheri red wine that is made nearby the hill where the Sassicaia wine is made, and is quite fine at a way lesser price (15 euro insted of 300)


I’m willing to embrace the theater and have someone pay that bill again if it will get me another bottle of that goddamn cabernet. It may be a function of missing good restaurants a lot right now, but holy hell I can almost taste the bottle of Malbec with a beautiful ribeye, or the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with a duck confit on a nice frisee salad, or the Bordeaux to go with the round of cocktails before the other bottle of Bordeaux.

Somebody, please, just take my money and cook me food and take away all the dirty dishes afterward.


But how does an ordinary Tuscan become a super Tuscan? Do they get bit by a radioactive grape?


Also here in Italy you could buy some designation of origin wine in 96 pints/54 litres jugs if you go to the farm, of course you can’t bottle and resell it, but you are going to pay less, because bottling it and labelling it has a cost. You could also bring back the jug and refill it at a discount.


For me personally, I’ve found those experiences almost impossible to reproduce. I’ll have a moment in a great environment on a great day and a wine will taste like the best thing ever. But I’ll buy the exact same bottle a month later to drink on the couch, and it just tastes like Two Buck Chuck. At least for me, it’s very much about the mood and the mindset as what’s in the bottle.


You seem to be implying that’s a bad thing?


Not at all! Once I learned cheap wine is not worse than expensive wine, my appreciation budget got a lot smaller and I was happy.


Gray Goose Vodka and its colleagues were created expressly because there was a price point gap in the Vodka market. There already was premium vodka, at $20-$25 a bottle, and super premium at $100 plus, but nothing in the $40-$50 range. So they had to invent one. The joke of course, is that vodka is neutral spirits - by definition it’s not supposed to taste like anything. (Flavored vodkas excepted, of course)

Experts claim to be able to tell the difference, but they fail slightly less than random chance. The typical drinker is wasting their money. Unless the point is to impress someone…