Giscours case: court hands down judgement

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  • Tuesday 1 July 2008

A Bordeaux court has handed down its judgement concerning a Dutch businessman accused of overseeing the blending of wines from two different appellations at Chateau Giscours in 1995.

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However the ruling, pronounced yesterday, falls under the judicial amnesty clause in French law which prohibits details of the decision from being made public.

The amnesty is a French legal mechanism which protects the accused from public reporting of the sentence once the accused has complied with the judge’s orders.

Eric Albada Jelgersma, a Dutch food entrepreneur who still denies the charges against him, is part-owner of the 140ha (hectare) chateau in Bordeaux’s renowned Margaux region.

Jelgersma was accused of ordering the mixing together of AOC Margaux and AOC Haut Medoc in the chateau's second wine, La Sirene de Giscours, which should be made only with grapes from the Margaux appellation.

He now has ten days to decide whether to appeal, or pay €25,000 to have the judgement revoked.

The director of Giscours, Alexander van Beek, told decanter.com Jelgersma now had a dilemma.

‘Eric Jelgersma is pretty disappointed by this decision which gives the impression, on one hand, that he is not guilty [by potentially silencing any reporting of the sentence], but still asks him to pay to have the amnesty,’ said Alexander van Beek, the current director of Giscours.

‘He [Jelgersma] came to Giscours will the best possible intent and he has invested over 15 million euro in the chateau,’ he added. ‘He would never do anything to alter the quality of a wine.’

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