Forbes profiles Michael Egan, David Koch’s wine sleuth, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of classic wines and how they age in long-term cellaring. Here he describes work he did for collector Russell Frye:
One immediate red flag: Those magnums of 1921 Pétrus. Egan had come across similar bottles before—and refused them—at Sotheby’s; they had become something of a calling card for the notorious German bon vivant and alleged wine counterfeiter Hardy Rodenstock, who was then being sued in New York. One of Rodenstock’s famous 1921 Pétrus magnums had scored a perfect 100 from the world’s leading wine critic, Robert Parker. But for Egan the wines presented a wee problem: Pétrus didn’t bottle any magnums in 1921. And even if some of its winemerchant customers who bought the wine in barrel had actually filled magnums—and there was no record of that, either—where were all these bottles suddenly coming from?
Egan soon began pulling suspect wines from Frye’s collection and breaking them down by component parts. Some of the labels, he realised, were photocopies that had been distressed—as he puts it, “scuffed in a weird way you wouldn’t see in normal cellaring”. Though the photocopies were expertly done, under his jeweller’s loupe the letters were revealed as pixilated, as from a laser printer. By the time he was done, Egan had identified 30 very expensive fake wines in Frye’s collection.
The whole story is a great read and includes some details on how Egan was recruited to work on the Rudy Kurniawan case.
Sniffing Out Fake, Expensive Wines (Forbes)