Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire’s Vinegar, has a terrific piece in New York Magazine about Rudy Kurniawan, the young wine collector whose cellar included some of the rarest bottles imaginable, such as a 1945 DRC Romanée-Conti and a case of 1959 Roumier Musigny. Kurniawan once auctioned off 2,310 lots for more than $24 million.
But oenologists had their suspicions.
[T]wo bottles left [Paul Wasserman] scratching his head. The 1947 lacked the unctuousness of right-bank Bordeaux from that legendary vintage, and the 1961 struck him as “very young.” He briefly entertained the idea of “possible fakes”—’61 Pétrus in magnum has fetched up to $28,440 at auction—and jotted, in his notes on the ’47, “If there’s one bottle I have serious doubts about tonight, this is it.”
Not only that, writes Wallace, but “you really had to wonder about the bottles of 1923 Roumier Bonnes-Mares included in the sale. The domain was founded in 1924.”
It seems that Kurniawan was part wine lover and part Willem Dafoe’s character in To Live and Die in L.A.
(Hat tip JVL)