Awards and citations:


1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for investdrinks.org

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award




Friday, 5 August 2011

1855 (1855.com): deliver outstanding 2005s after intervention by Smith-Haut-Lafitte

I was delighted to learn yesterday that through the intervention of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte. a long suffering client of 1855 has finally received his wine. He has waiting three years for the remaining 18 bottles of assorted 2005 Bordeaux en primeur from a two case order. TP ordered 2005 en primeurs from  Smith-Haut Lafitte, Leoville Poyferré, Carbonnieux, Calon Ségur and Lafon Rochet.


These wines should have been delivered in 2008.


After two and a half years of unsuccessful letters, phone calls, emails to 1855 as well as letters to Christian Brocheton, TP wrote to the five Bordeaux châteaux explaining h1s problems with 1855. He was pleased to get positive responses from three of them.


In addition Florence Cathiard, owner with her husband Daniel of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte in Pessac-Leognan, wrote to 1855 (1855.com) demanding that the wines be delivered in 48 hours otherwise Smith-Haut-Lafitte would join the putative legal action against 1855. The company was also told that Jean-Pierre Meyers, married to Françoise Bettencourt and the son-in-law of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and a major shareholder in 1855 would be informed before legal action was taken.


Surprisingly this drew no response from 1855. It looks like 1855 behave as arrogantly towards the châteaux owners as they do their customers.

Last week TP was phoned by Smith-Haut-Lafitte and asked if he had received his wine. They were told that TP was still waiting for 18 bottles. Six bottles had been delivered in April 2011. TP discovered that one of his wines, Calon Ségur 2005, was for sale on the 1855 website. It meant a clear escroquerie to sell to someone else the wine I had bought and that they didn’t deliver. He sent a lettre recommandée to 1855, spoting the Calon Ségur 2005 was for 10 days on sale on the website. One week after, the Calon Ségur 2005 (but only that) was delivered.

The news that TP was still awaiting 2005s from 1855 including his Smith-Haut-Lafitte prompted a further letter last week from David Ornon, their commercial director:

‘Voici une nouvelle pièce pour nourrir le dossier à charge que nous constituons au Château contre vos pratiques lamentables, et qui rejoindra celui monté par les groupes organiques qui préparent une action collective.

Il ne se passe pas un mois sans que nous ne rencontrions des gens furieux de n’avoir pas reçu les vins qu’ils ont pourtant payés au moment où vous leur demandiez.

Je vous demande de retirer nos vins de vos listes de vins primeurs, d’autant que vous ne respectez pas les prix de revente que nous avons recommandés aux négociants.

Vous nous avez annoncé fièrement l’acquisition de ChâteauOnline au mois de Mars, et nous recevions le même jour une plainte de Mr Krivine qui attend toujours la livraison des 2005 qu’il a acheté en primeur ! Je vous ai écrit en suivant et vous n’avez même pas fait l’effort de répondre. Même intolérable non-réaction de votre part après ma réponse à votre message du 29 Avril annonçant des bénéfices de 528k€ (sur des données préliminaires non auditées…).

Je vous épargne volontiers le détail des conclusions que j’ai pu tirer ce cette situation, de ces plaintes régulières d’amateurs qui ont cru en vous et en vos annonces. Il va de soi que notre soutien sans faille sera apporté à ces clients lésés, puisque vous ne m’avez jamais répondu.

A vous de me prouver que mon idée sur votre entreprise est fausse.

Maintenant que la campagne primeurs est terminée, et puisque visiblement les expéditions ne vous prennent pas trop de temps, peut-être pourrez-vous me répondre ?'

David Ornon
Directeur Commercial
Château Smith Haut Lafitte
33650 BORDEAUX-MARTILLAC FRANCE
Tel : +33 (0) 557 83 11 22 - +33 (0) 678 27 56 27
Fax : +33 (0) 557 83 11 21
d.ornon@smith-haut-lafitte.com



Ornon’s letter did the trick and the outstanding wines were delivered by 1855 (1855.com) yesterday.

It is clear that this Ponzi scheme will honour en primeur orders only when maximum pressure is applied. Remember that they recently claimed that they didn't deliver during the summer. Yet they were able to deliver TP’s wines yesterday.



I'm delighted to see Cathiards and their staff take a strong line with 1855. My advice to clients of 1855 is to write to the Bordeaux châteaux owners. It would also be a good idea to send copies to Jean-Pierre Meyers, so that he is made fully aware how 1855 conducts its business.       


3 comments:

Wojciech Bońkowski said...

I'm actually very comforted to see so much effort put by a Bordeaux chateau for the sake of a single customer. Chateaux often behave in a very arrogant way and seem to forget the end consumer. SHL showed it needn't be so.

Luc Charlier said...

It looks very much Léon-unlike to come and rescue Bordeaux château-owners. But, if it is true they often have an arrogant behaviour, it is also true they are very much image-conscious and mostly have a very correct commercial attitude. Remember Phélan-Ségur’s new owners replacing bottles of the 1983 (which had been made by the previous proprietors) that were faulty after the “Ortène problem” by the same number of 1986 (a far better wine) which was theirs. Quite an elegant gesture. Moreover, by and large, the “Graves” people are more considered than their Médoc counterparts. And finally, Mme Cathiard is definitely a gracious and intelligent woman herself, with a large vision of trade and image. When she and her husband took over Smith (from Eschenauer if my memory doesn’t fail me), it was a true revolution, for the better.

Jim Budd said...

I'm very pleased to see that SHL went out of their way for this client of 1855.

Would be very good to see the Bordelais to go further and for the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux to issue a warning about 1855.