A Bordeaux wine merchant has been accused of selling table wine labelled as top Bordeaux from prestigious chateaux including Pichon Longueville, Leoville Barton, Gruaud Larose and Saransot Dupre.

Amar Derriche, a former cellar master based in Moulis-en-Medoc, allegedly blended and bottled vins de table and charged well over their true value – but far less than the real wines would have cost.

For example, he was selling the 2000 vintage for €20 (£14) per bottle – ten times the price of a vin de table, but less than half the price of the wines they were supposed to be, which would have cost upwards of €50 (£35) a bottle.

Derriche was caught in a random check by the customs office, which found 13,000 fake labels, and 5,600 fake capsules and corks in the back of his shop – alongside several genuine cases.

He at first confessed, but later retracted the confession, saying the labels were to be sold as souvenirs, and the real bottles were for his personal consumption.

Of the chateaux involved – who declined to comment – six have begun a civil suit against Derriche for ‘damage to reputation’ and are seeking the equivalent of £43,000. The customs office is seeking £29,000, and the INAO (the national wine industry oversight body) expects £11,000.

A judgement is expected on 17 December.

Written by Jane Anson