Skip to comments.Celebrity chef Charlie Trotter accused in counterfeit wine case
Posted on 06/14/2013 10:44:49 AM PDT by rickmichaels
CHICAGO - The famed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter has been sued for allegedly selling two wine collectors from New York a big, bogus bottle of wine.
According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Chicago, Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj paid more than $46,200 last June for what they thought was a magnum of 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti from Trotter's Michelin-starred restaurant.
Trotter closed his restaurant last August, citing a desire to travel and to study philosophy, and as part of the closure made plans to sell thousands of bottles from his restaurant's wine collection. This drew interest from wine aficionados who admired the restaurant's collection of Bordeaux and cabernets.
"During dinner, Charlie Trotter and the sommelier explained the rarity and value of the DRC magnum to Benn and Ilir," according to the court filing. "Charlie Trotter and the sommelier also spoke about wines from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti estate and how those wines are some of the rarest and most valuable in the world."
But the Frrokajs contend this was not true, and that it was only when they tried to have the bottle insured that they learned from a consultant that it was counterfeit.
Trotter could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear whether he hired a lawyer for his defense.
According to the complaint, when consultant Maureen Downey met with estate co-owner Aubert de Villaine, he stated "Domaine de la Romanee-Conti only produced small yields in 1945 and as a result did not produce any large format magnum-size bottles."
The lawsuit accuses Trotter and his former restaurant of violating federal and state consumer laws, and seeks $75,000 in damages. Efforts to recover without going to court proved unsuccessful, the plaintiffs' lawyer John Auchter said Thursday.
The case is Frrokaj et al v. CHT Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 13-04376.
This happened to me once, and so I learned the hard way that Domaine de la Romanee-Conti didn’t produce any large format magnum-size bottles during the 1940’s.
Understandable, what with the war and all...
It happens and Trotter may have purchased that bottle in a large lot of other bottles.
I have friends that will spend $500k for a lot of wine.
The wine comes on a truck, they take what they really wanted and then get rid of the rest.
A few times a bottle shows up that isn’t genuine.
That’s what I’m thinking; Trotter himself might be a victim of fraud in this case. There are a lot of crooks out there working the wine market from every angle. I know a lot of restauranteurs buy directly from private collectors. That should probably change.
They have to buy from private collectors and brokers.
There isn’t another way to get rare and unique wines.
At least it wasn’t a 1947 vintage from Herman Goering’s personal collection.
I take comfort in the knowledge that no one counterfeits Thunderbird.
Reputable auction houses that appraise their wine before offering it.
Right, I’ve only got a couple of those little airline
bottles of it. They are from 43 but are marked
Made in France, bottled in Germany.
This sort of faking isn't going to be done by a celebrity chef--it's done by wine brokers who claim to have "discovered this bottle in a forgotten chateau cellar."
C'est incroyable !
You’re telling me—I learned the hard way when I bought the Veuve Clicquot, 460 A.D.
Idiots! Romanée-Conti is a Burgundy made solely from Pinot noir grapes. Neither a Bordeaux nor a cabernet. Is there anyone who does not know this?
This is fine, and possible. The bigger issue is that Trotter won’t refund the money. If they were trying to get it insured then they obviously didn’t drink it. He should refund the money.
Yeah I heard that Clovis I popped open one of those in 507 to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Vouillé ... and even by then it was already flat.