Danes accused of falsifying vintage wines

Wine bottles in caseThe counterfeit vintage wine circus has arrived in Denmark, with magazine Gastro linking two Danish wine buffs to a series of expensive tastings at which falsified wines were served.

The magazine claims Malene Meisner - chief executive of The White Club - and former partner Rehné Thomsen (who has also gone by the name René Dehn and is now thought to be operating in South Africa) served wines at exclusive tastings and dinners that were not genuine.

The functions were held in locations such as Hong Kong, London and Burgundy and cost thousands of krone to attend, but Gastro believes some bottles may have been refilled and served to guests multiple times.

Among the rare vintages served at the gatherings included a 1937 Romanée-Conti, a 1947 La Tache and a 1929 Chateau d'Yquem. The value of the fraud is estimated at more than 2m krone ($367,000).

Wine expert Jancis Robinson writes in her blog that she attended three of the events and - while the wines served at the first in 2009 appeared to be genuine, suspicions were aroused on the second event and all but confirmed on the third.

"I can easily see how someone establishes their credentials before gradually increasing the proportion of fake wines they serve," notes Robinson.

"This seems to be the standard procedure and I am certainly extremely circumspect nowadays," she continued, adding: "I'm sad that I have to be."

The incident comes shortly after fine wine collector Julian LeCraw has filed a lawsuit against the Antique Wine Company, claiming it sold him counterfeits. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Rudy Kurniawan is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of counterfeiting wines last December.

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