Dodgy Jacob’s Creek – be careful out there…

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I’m not normally interested in Jacob’s Creek – it ain’t fine wine – but this case caught my attention.

Have a look at the grape varieties printed above the delicious-sounding “fresh grapefruit, lemon and passionfruit flavours”.

This misspelled forgery was found by Sussex police in a Brighton off-licence.

The problem with fakes and forgeries isn’t just Pétrus and DRC and other highly-priced fine wines.

The greater part of the “market” for fraudulent wines is at this very commercial level where public scrutiny is very low. The vast drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard (which owns Jacob’s Creek) has taken steps to prevent counterfeiting in China by introducing “scannable bottles” with a QR code to help consumers identify potential forgeries. But this is only for spirits and not for wines.

Alas, they haven’t yet been able to prevent dodgy Jacob’s Creek being sold by unscrupulous – or just poorly informed – wine retailers in London-on-Sea.

#VinsExtraordinaires
#JacobsCreek
#PernodRicard
#FineWine
#Mayfair
#London
#Brighton
#GenuineFakes

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: JUNE NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

It’s Rain Stopped Play in Mumbai right now. And for the next three months! The south-western monsoon and all that. So a slightly earlier than usual newsletter.

Back in Blighty, meanwhile, we simmer gently on a low heat, score nearly 500 in 50 overs, and prepare to collect kit. Mad dogs and Englishmen?

Cheers

Vic” 

 

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Fake or fortune? Cheval Blanc 1953

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The image here shows a nice lot of 1953 Cheval Blanc offered by an auctioneer in (I think) December 2015.

The discrepancy in the size and shape of the bottles is alarming, though it can and does vary with old bottlings. It’s rarely clear-cut.

In particular, the tall bottle at far right tapers from the neck to the base.

This bottle shape is something that you see with overpriced and overambitious New World efforts. It’s not something that you see with 65-year old clarets.

It also has the cleanest label here, which appears to be peeling off.

And the capsule is different to the other bottles.

Funny that, ain’t it…?

#GenuineFakes
#Fakewines
#VinsExtraordinaires
#Finewinebusinessnetwork

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Fake or fortune? Pétrus 1949

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I’m not sure that the label of 1949 Pétrus should look like this

It was tasted (drunk!) by a MW in 2015, who wrote, “Petrus 1949 was mute so another bottle was opened. It was glorious!” I hope that MW and the other guests enjoyed it.

Queried on Twitter about the unblemished label by some obnoxiously querulous people (though they were right to question it), MW replied, “Cork was original, label pristine frm (sic) being shrink wrapped (sic) for decades & it tasted old, gd (sic) but not impressive”.

Er, I thought that you said it was “glorious”…?

No picture available of the “original” cork, alas.

It should also have been pointed out to the MW that “Mme L P LACOSTE-LOUBAT” did not inherit her share of Pétrus from Mme Edmond Loubat until 1961.

It is improbable for her name to have been on the label of a 1949 Pétrus.

Why didn’t anybody notice this…?

The twist in this tale is that, in October 2013, Sotheby’s auctioned bottles of Pétrus from the cellar of M Lacoste-Loubat herself that had been relabelled and recapsuled.

The MW bottle certainly looks as though it could have come from the Lacoste-Loubat cellar. But it wasn’t in the 2013 Sotheby’s sale. I’m not aware of these very special bottles being offered anywhere else. And the MW made no mention of Lacoste-Loubat provenance, instead talking of “Cork was original, label pristine frm (sic) being shrink wrapped (sic) for decades”. Utter nonsense.

In all probability, it is a forgery.

#VinsExtraordinaires

#Petrus

#FineWine

#Mayfair

#London

#GenuineFakes

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: MAY NEWSLETTER

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A message from Vic Mills at Project Front Foot:

“Hi Stuart,

Please find attached a little light breakfast reading with the May project newsletter.

You won’t be too surprised to hear that they continue to play on at the Gymkhana (monsoon permitting) prolonging a season that began way back in the middle of October.

A season, given climate and conditions, that suggests the Dharavi kids are some of the hardest working young cricketers in Mumbai.

May proved a bumper month with more Friendship Cup action, openers with attitude, quirky Gymkhana news, and Windsor’s alternative project celebrations.

Cheers

Vic”

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An Arctic Banquet – with 1834 Antónia Ferreira Port

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Recently I read Richard Holmes’ history of ballooning Falling Upwards: How We Took To the Air.

He tells the tale of S. A. Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897, which ended disastrously. The bodies of Andrée and two colleagues were not recovered until 1930.

Towards the end of the expedition the three men held a “banquet”. They ate seal steaks and ivory gull fried in butter and seal-blubber, seal-liver, brain and kidneys. Yum.

With this they drank a bottle of 1834 Antonio de Ferrara (sic – it should be Antónia Ferreira) Port that had been given to them by the Swedish king.

This is a famously great Port vintage. The Ferreira bottling was reputedly made from a single variety but nobody has been able to confirm this.

#Finewine
#VinsExtraordinaires
#VintagePort
#GarrafeiraNacional
#Ferreira

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A wine-themed tale from Richard Holmes’ history of ballooning “Falling Upwards: How we Took to the Air”

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In 1836, Charles Green (1785–1870), accompanied by Monck Mason and the MP for Hastings Robert Hollond, set a major long distance record in the balloon “Royal Vauxhall”, flying overnight from Vauxhall Gardens in London – ten minutes from where I live – to Weilburg in the Duchy of Nassau (now Germany), a distance of 480 miles.

The three Victorian gentlemen took plenty of provisions with them, including 16 pints each (!) of Sherry, Port, and Brandy, with several dozen bottles of Champagne. Holmes calculated that the daily ration for each man was a pint of fortified wines and several glasses of Champagne.

Mason noted that the Champagne was adversely affected by the altitude: The lower pressure meant that it simply shot frothing out of the bottle, which Mason wittily called its “natural tendency to flying”.

#VinsExtraordinaires
#Finewine
#Champagne
#Ballooning

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: APRIL NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

Another busy month of news, comment and action from the far pavilions courtesy of the Project Front Foot April newsletter. The icing on the Ras Malai  was the surprise visit by the former England captain and Sky pundit, Nasser Hussain. You can imagine the excitement among the Dharavi kids as he conducted a coaching clinic at the Gymkhana.

Cheers

Vic” 

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Chat flanqué de Rats – with Romanée-Conti 1858

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Who could resist a Christmas Day lunch of elephant, kangaroo, cats and rats (yuk), and antelope with Latour (sic) Blanche 1861 (a good Sauternes vintage), Palmer 1864 (one of the great vintages of the 19th century), Mouton Rothschild 1849 (average), and Romanée-Conti 1858 (good)?

Here’s a great image from Richard Holmes’ history of ballooning Falling Upwards: How we Took to the Air.

This menu from the Café Voisin, dated 25th December 1870 – the 99th day of the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War – has a desperate offering of dishes with a fabulous selection of fine wines.

The unusual meats were caused by dire food shortages, which led to the animals at the zoo – as well as cats and rats – in Paris being turned into givrets and terrines.

I suppose that I might just about be able to force down “Chat flanqué de Rats” with Romanée-Conti…

#Finewine
#VinsExtraordinaires
#ChateauPalmer
#Romanee-Conti
#MoutonRothschild
#Foodandwinepairings

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My “The Drinks Interval: Wine and Cricket” article published by FINE India

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Following India’s victory over West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on 30th June 2017, the former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored 78 not out, was asked by a journalist about how he is getting better with age. Dhoni replied, “It’s like wine”.

Dhoni was born in 1981, which was a reasonable vintage for red Bordeaux, red Burgundy, Alsace, and the Loire Valley. Dhoni’s former teammate Sachin Tendulkar – arguably the greatest of all international batsmen – is known to enjoy good food and wine.

The parallels between cricket and wine are many and varied.

Read the full FINE India article here.

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