Charlie Trotter being sued for selling ‘fake’ DRC14th June, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Chicago-based celebrity chef Charlie Trotter is being sued for allegedly selling two collectors a magnum of fake Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj paid £30,000 last June for what Trotter had claimed was a magnum of 1945 DRC from the chef’s now defunct Michelin-starred restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.
The pair only learnt that the bottle was fake when they tried to have it insured and were told the wine had no value.
In the run up to the closure of Charlie Trotter’s last August, Trotter sold a number of bottles from the restaurant’s stellar cellar to interested wine collectors.
According to the lawsuit, filed yesterday in a US District Court in Chicago, de Villaine confirmed that the DRC magnum was counterfeit because Domaine de la Romanée-Conti only produced small yields in 1945 and as a result didn’t produce any magnums that year.
“During dinner, Charlie Trotter and the sommelier explained the rarity and value of the DRC magnum and how the wines are some of the rarest and most valuable in the world,” the Frrokajs said in a court statement.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Trotter denied the allegations when reached by phone.
“It was a disgruntled client who probably paid a lot more money for a bottle of wine than he’s ever paid before – it’s buyer’s remorse,” Trotter told the newspaper.
The wine collectors are seeking £48,000 in damages to match their £30,000 loss plus an additional £18,000 in punitive damages against Trotter for violating state and federal consumer laws.
Last November, Trotter auctioned the remainder of his 4,000-bottle, million-dollar cellar through Christie’s New York.
A week before the auction, sixty cases of Trotters’ wine were stolen en route from the distribution centre in Chicago to the auction house in New York.