CAVEAT EMP­TOR

SAVOUR

Robb Report (Malaysia) - - Savour -

Wine­fraud is en­demic for very good rea­sons. The ill- got­ten gains are po­ten­tially vast, and the down­side is rel­a­tively small com­pared to other forms of forgery. Coun­ter­feiter Rudy Kur­ni­awan, sen­tenced in 2013 and the sub­ject of the re­cent film Sour Grapes, is the first per­son to serve fed­eral jail time for wine fraud; in France, the max­i­mum sen­tence for the crime is two years. Not sur­pris­ingly, mul­ti­ple sources es­ti­mate that fully 20 per cent of fine wine is fake.

“It’s a mas­sive prob­lem, and it’s get­ting worse, not bet­ter,” says Mau­reen Downey, au­then­ti­ca­tor ex­traor­di­naire and founder of Wine­fraud. com. The fine wine trade, she be­lieves, is “in peril” from the twin scourges of coun­ter­feit wine and theft. Not only are

Cu­vee Win­ston Churchill. The only re­quire­ment is a bit of pa­tience.

Risk- tak­ers might be at­tracted by the prospect of an­tic­i­pat­ing trends. Clearly, the wine world is chang­ing and the tastemak­ers of the fu­ture are just as likely to post on In­sta­gram as write in es­tab­lished wine jour­nals. Pro­duc­ers that strike a chord with the next gen­er­a­tion of wine lovers are al­ready do­ing very well.

“I’d look to the stuff som­me­liers find it hard to find to­day,” ad­vises Castells. “In a decade, col­lec­tors will be look­ing for it too.” Even a short list of such wines is eclec­tic, rang­ing from the elegant Langue­doc reds of Grange des Peres to the elec­tric An­jou Chenin Blanc of Richard Leroy. Many are in­flu­enced to some de­gree by the nat­u­ral-wine move­ment and they all tend to spin com­pelling nar­ra­tives.

“I think sto­ry­telling has en­tered the in­vest­ment mar­ket,” says Leonard. Small, ar­ti­sanal pro­duc­ers with a pow­er­ful story, he ar­gues, “are easy to cham­pion in the face of es­tab­lished blue-chip wines”. Th­ese are pro­duc­ers, he adds, that younger con­sumers are un­likely to find in their par­ents’ col­lec­tions. Of course, it’s a lot eas­ier to buy a pal­let of cru classe Bordeaux than it is to parse the in­tri­ca­cies of ob­scure wine re­gions like the Jura. But for those to whom the ex­cite­ment of the chase is as great a sat­is­fac­tion as the prize it­self, pur­su­ing the cult wines of the fu­ture might be the best in­vest­ment strat­egy of all. ≠

“I’d look to the stuff som­me­liers find it hard to find to­day.”

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