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Spectrum and Vanquish: Kurniawan wines are not in sale

Auctioneers Spectrum and wine merchant Vanquish have taken the unprecedented step of categorically denying that the consigner in tomorrow's London sale is Rudy Kurniawan.

DRC 1978: ‘Sackville misspelled’

The auction – the first London sale for the California-UK joint venture – has come under intense scrutiny over internet speculation that some of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti wines may have been consigned by the Los Angeles collector.

Kurniawan consigned wines to some of the biggest sales of the last decade – most notoriously Acker Merrall and Condit’s 2008 sale in which a series of bottles from Domaine Ponsot Clos St Denis were found to be fraudulent and were withdrawn.

Kurniawan was also named in a 2009 lawsuit brought by billionaire collector William Koch.

‘It is Vanquish’s policy to respect confidentiality and neither confirm nor deny consignees. However, considering that Spectrum have already said that Rudy is not a consignee, Vanquish can confirm the same,’ the London merchant told Decanter.com.

Vanquish has also responded to suggestions, including from one highly-placed London source, that there are ‘quite alarming variations to norm’ in some bottles.

On one lot in particular, of two bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée Conti 1978 (pictured), with an estimate of £6,000, a label is misspelt: the shipper Percy Fox’s London address is given as ‘Sackvilee Street’ rather than Sackville Street.

Auctioneer Richard Brierley, head of fine wine for Vanquish, told Decanter.com, ‘We are looking at that most closely and taking a second view. If the anomaly or discrepancy is not explained then the bottles will be withdrawn.’

Brierley said all bottles in the sale were going through ‘a 360-degree inspection process by a third-party specialist, looking at ink on the labels, the printing process, bottle types and codes, corks, capsules, colour of wine and sediment.’

Vanquish had also taken the unusual step of inviting Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and its sole agent Corney & Barrow, to inspect the wines.

Adam Brett-Smith of Corney & Barrow confirmed the invitation came yesterday. ‘I have forwarded it to the Domaine and am awaiting their response,’ he said.

The Spectrum and Vanquish auction takes place on Wednesday 8 February at the Mandarin Oriental, London

Written by Adam Lechmere

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