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

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

Monday, 23 May 2016

Noble Crus Wine Fund – news from beyond the grave

Nobles Crus wine fund closed down in 2013
liquidated in 2014

Although the controversial Nobles Crus wine fund was liquidated in 2014, it continues to make headlines beyond the company grave. Some lots in a recent Baghera Wines auction that featured substantial quantities of DRC wines were withdrawn over concerns whether some of the wines were genuine. Although Baghera Wines claimed that the wines came from a single Swiss collector, it appears that at least some of the wines came from the Nobles Crus wine fund. 

Nobles Crus was unusual in having holding a significant proportion of pre-1982 vintages, which raised questions at the time whether the provenance of these wines could be fully authenticated. 

Today's story by Rupert Millar from The Drinks Business:   

'Nobles Crus claims mar Baghera sale

Concerns over the provenance and authenticity of several lots of Burgundy have clouded the results of Swiss auction house, Baghera Wines’, latest sale, with claims much of the consigned Burgundy was sourced from failed wine fund, Nobles Crus.

The new, Swiss-based auction house conducted only its second sale in Geneva at the weekend, a sale dominated by over 1,000 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

The sale made CHF 6.2 million in total, CHF 4.2m of which was made from the very large consignment of Burgundy. Baghera Wines said before the sale and repeated to the drinks business that the DRC collection had all been stored at the Geneva Freeport since they were bought and that they came from the collection of a single, Swiss collector.

In an increasingly predictable pattern, shortly before the sale LA-based lawyer, Don Cornwell, posted on the Wine Berserkers forum that there were serious doubts about the provenance and authenticity of several lots being offered.

Cornwell pointed out that 19 lots were, in his judgment, either “outright counterfeit or which fail to conform to known standards for those wines and thus should not in good conscience be sold and should be withdrawn.”

He added a further 30-40 lots, especially some older Yquem vintages, were the cause for “serious questions”.

Read the rest here 

Extract from a post (23rd November 2012 – Jim's Loire) on Nobles Crus. 

Nobles Crus wine fund: some responses from Elite Advisers and the untested multi-million euro question
'It is not known how Ernst & Young will be able to produce robust valuations for the old wines bought from a variety of sources including merchants, restaurants and private collections. They may well have an extended stay in Switzerland where the Nobles Crus wines are stored – inspecting bottles individually assessing labels, the fill levels in bottles and their provenance – 'the intangible factors'. Provenance is decidedly tricky for very old vintages; a robust provenance may be almost impossible to establish. This is not to suggest for a moment that Elite Advisers did not buy in good faith; it is just the nature of the beast and why older vintages are, by their nature, illiquid especially if you have to sell a large number at one time.

One has to wonder whether Ernst & Young have the necessary expertise in-house to carry out such specialist work or will they be calling in experts?'
Extract from post on Jim's Loire – 23.11.2012

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