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Brothers Say They Have Proof Charlie Trotter Sold Them A Fake $46K Bottle Of Wine

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 17, 2013 8:30PM

Photo by Huge Galdones, via Grubstreet Chicago.
When the story broke last week about the allegedly counterfeit bottle of wine that Charlie Trotter sold to a pair of brothers, our first question was: Without opening it up and tasting it, how could anyone tell if it was fake or not? Since it's a $46,000 bottle of wine, that's probably not the best way to find out, but there must be some science behind the lawsuit, right? Turns out that there is.

Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj, the two brothers who are suing Trotter, filed an amended complaint on Friday that included more information. They hired a wine consultant named Maureen Downey who compared the bottle with the information she had about the vineyard and vintage.

She told Reuters that the vineyard had never made a large-format bottle (the bottle in question is a magnum) and that the label is identical to another counterfeit bottle they had discovered previously.

Worse for Trotter if true, Downey also questioned the accuracy of the letter of authenticity provided along with the bottle for sale.

Downey also said she questioned the accuracy of a letter Frrokaj had received, on the restaurant's letterhead, stating that the bottle had been purchased by Trotter in 2001 from representatives of Wilson Daniels, a fine-wine importer and distributor of DRC wines in the United States. Downey said she contacted a representative of Wilson Daniels, who confirmed her suspicion that no such bottles were sold by the wine importer.

All of this material is contained within the Plaintiff's complaint, and could be inaccurate. We'll be interested to see the official response from Trotter's attorney.