Mike Steinberger, friend of the blog, started a series of posts on his blog wherein he plays Wine Ethicist, answering (or posing) questions on etiquette in the wine world. Since Mike has fallen off the face of the internet (actually, I think he’s traveling) and has let his blog idle this week, we’re happy to pick up the slack on etiquette with a timely topic: the serving of counterfeit wine.
The arrest of Rudy Kurniawan was all the buzz everywhere I went this week (well, except my local grocery store, where nobody cared). As the talk led to counterfeiting, many in the wine world shared stories with me of dodgy or legendary bottles they’d had, the suspicious people they’d met, or why, like those at my grocery store, they couldn’t give a rip. I largely agree with that last point: while the tale of bling, duplicity and gullibility has undeniably enticing details and wine is deliciously multifacted, I spend my professional life tasting wine and writing about principally because I like to drink it with dinner. I’m not interested in chasing down magnums of ’47 Lafleur; I’ll stick with Lapierre Morgon because it’s not only more affordable but there’s there no chance of it being fake.
One sommelier told me this week that he opened a bottle that a collector had brought in. Although it had a celebrated 1947 Bordeaux was written on the label, when he pulled the cork, it read 1966 Rioja. So, here’s the etiquette question/ethical quandary: should the somm have alerted the diner to the fake right away or let the him and his companions enjoy the wine as if it were what was on the label?
Hit the comments with your thoughts. And I’ll share what the somm did after you’ve had a chance to weigh in.