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Wine scam rocks Chablis

The head of a large French wine producer has been arrested for allegedly blending other white wines into its Chablis for over a decade.

For at least 10 years Jean-Claude Fromont, CEO of Maison Fromont, is, French news site Le Journal du Centre explained: “suspected of having sold, under the Chablis label, wines from other regions.”

Based in Ligny-le-Châtel in the Yonne, Maison Fromont was founded in 1972 as a Chablis producer and négociant but quickly expanded its vineyard holdings to include Burgundy, the Loire, Beaujolais, the south of France and the Rhône.

The fraud is said to have taken place between 2004 and 2014 and as well as cutting the estate’s Chablis with wines from Fromont’s other vineyards in the Rhône and Provence, may also include doctoring some AOC wines from those regions with other wines. The ultimate scale of the fraud is not currently known.

Also investigated on suspicion of complicity in the scam were a haulier company which apparently transported the vats of wine and the domaine’s cellar master.

Frédéric Guégen, president of the Federation of Defence of the Appellation Chablis told the paper he was “frightened” of the damage that could be wrought on the region’s image if the allegations turned out to be true.

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