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The Kurniawan Saga: An Insider’s Account

2012 June 19
by Mike

Doug Barzelay, the New York attorney and Burgundy enthusiast who set in motion the events that ultimately led to Rudy Kurniawan’s arrest, has posted his reflections on the Kurniawan saga. It’s a terrific essay, full of insights into Kurniawan and into the collector culture that enabled him to perpetrate his alleged scam. It’s a great insider’s view of what happened, and well worth a read.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Simon permalink
    November 12, 2012

    Need a little help in the restaurant industry? Try going to to take the weight of staffing and job searching off your shoulders.

  2. Jack Bulkin permalink
    July 8, 2012

    I recommend Gaviscon for Sanctimony Chris? Try some.

  3. Chris Wallace permalink
    July 7, 2012

    “My existential nauseau resulting from the depths of conduct and credibility of some established wine critics has only worsened.” How about sanctimony? Does that send you running for the rolaids too?

  4. Frank permalink
    June 22, 2012

    It’s not at all difficult to determine whether wine or any biological material is pre-1950.

    Due to atomic testing the amount of Carbon-14 (the same isotope used for radiocarbon dating) in the atmosphere doubled during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Before that time, the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere was on a downward trend (coal, being 350 or so million years old, has no Carbon-14). A very small sample of any alleged wine, cork or label could be analyzed for the amount of C-14 in it, and the cost of the test would be much less than the (predicted) value of the wine.

    At least part of the problem could be resolved, IF those in the old wine trade thought it was in their interest.

  5. John S. permalink
    June 22, 2012

    Does anybody have any idea how many notes in back issues of Burghound and in Meadows’ book are of Rudy bottles?

  6. RobinC permalink
    June 20, 2012

    It was great to have an insider’s insight into the Rudy fiasco. Has anyone interviewed Rudy’s mother? Is Rudy a sociopath who happens to have a good palate? Did he ever have any money of his own? There are certainly many more questions out there.

  7. Matt In Chicago permalink
    June 20, 2012

    Jack: you may wish to avoid wine literature of all sorts going forward.

    Mike: I greatly enjoyed Mr Barzelay’s recapitulation of events. L’affaire Rudy is quickly turning into a vinous Rashomon. It will be interesting to see who can craft a final narrative and just how close to the truth that turns out to be. Right now I’d say the most intriguing unknown is the identity of the co-conspirator that M. Ponsot believes necessary for the scheme to have reached such levels.

  8. June 19, 2012

    Jack, I agree–I think it would be wise of Allen to address the various issues and questions that have been raised concerning his dealings with Rudy, Acker, etc. And I suspect he will address them at some point.

  9. Jack Bulkin permalink
    June 19, 2012

    Mike, thanks. Doug’s was an interesting account. Yet, I would have preferred hearing about these tastings and fraud alerts from Doug’s “friend” Allen Meadows who apparently from what I have read, has met these revelations with a bout of attempting to re-write history by redacting Rudy’s name from Burghound archived notes of Acker events and a few private tastings he attended of Rudy’s wines. Meadows had a close relationship with Acker and gave credibility to Rudy K’s wines at Acker auctions which sold many millions of dollars of Rudy’s wines. To me, Mr. Meadows does not come out of this sorry episode with his previous reputation intact. That is just my opinion from what I have read, thus I would enjoy hearing from him directly about these issues in hopes that he could clarify and correct what is out there.. My existential nauseau resulting from the depths of conduct and credibility of some established wine critics has only worsened.

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