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

Friday, 19 February 2010

Fake Pinot Noir: Constellation the other US buyer

Genuine Pinot Noir, Sancerre, October 2008

It has now emerged that Constellation was the other US company which bought the fake Pinot Noir.

This is reported in the Independant (Perpignan):
'Ce négociant (referring to Ducasse) avait fait passer d'autres cépages pour du pinot et avait revendu ce vin à la société de commercialisation "Sieur d'Arques" qui, en bout de chaîne, le livrait aux Etats-Unis, en particulier au groupe américain E&J Gallo.

'Gallo n'était probablement pas le seul destinataire. Le groupe indiquait mercredi soir qu'il avait "importé moins de 20% du total" de ce faux pinot noir. En outre, un passage du jugement indique que la société Sieur d'Arques était "détentrice d'un marché important avec les clients américains de la cave (les société Gallo et Constellation), portant sur une quantité significative" de cépage Pinot. Constellation, propriétaire de Mondavi, est numéro un mondial du vin.'

Also in the Wall Street Journal:

Constellation Brands Inc. confirmed Thursday that it purchased pinot noir from a French supplier involved in a massive scheme to sell a phony version of the wine variety, but the company said it believes the product it bought was genuine.

Constellation, the world's largest wine producer by sales, said it 'purchased pinot noir from Sieur d'Arques between 2006 and 2008.'

The WSJ also reported that Constellation said that the wine 'was tested internally after the French court case began and found to be pinot noir'.

If Constellation bought the remaining 80% of the fake Pinot Noir or a significant proportion, then it would seem unlikely that it was all genuine Pinot Noir, although some of it may well have been genuine Merlot or Syrah. However, if Constellation's internal testing procedure is correct and what they bought was Pinot Noir (it does rather depend upon what vintage they tested), the mystery still remains – who bought the remaining 80% fake Pinot Noir.


Anonymous said...

I totaly agree with you, Jim : the whole thing is terrible for the image of "Midi wines".
By the way, let me recommand to you readers a excellent pinot noir produced on the hills north of Béziers (a cool climate) near the small town of Bédarieux by a charming lady named Catherine Roque. She calls her Vin de Pays "Clovallon".
The lady also produces a good Faugères under the name of Mas d'Alezon.
Here's her mail :
Thanks for renewing you confidence in the southern wines, so far from your delicious Loire valley.

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Michel. Ever since my first professional visit to the Languedoc-Roussillon region back in 1989 I have had great confidence in the quality and potential of the wines from LR.

The problem is that it is very difficult to cover both the Loire and Languedoc-Roussillon in the detail that I now want to do in the Loire.