Italian cops have foiled what the Siena police chief calls "the biggest fraud ever carried out in the agricultural and food sector": a wine expert's attempt to pass off nearly a quarter-million bottles of fake Brunello di Montalcino wine.

The unnamed oenologist (I mean, he probably has a name, but it has not been made public) got his hands on fake labels and phony certification documents intended to disguise around 42,000 gallons of shitty bulk red wine as the pricey and prestigious Tuscan Brunello. Had he succeeded, the 220,000 or so bottles of counterfeit stuff likely would've sold for over $6 million.

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Which, I mean, hooray for justice and for the actual makers of actual Brunello di Montalcino wine. On the other hand, though, this robs us of the delightful image of oenophile weenies in fancy restaurants unwittingly mooning and waxing rhapsodic over bottles of cheap counterfeit swill—which surely would have happened, because wine tasting mostly is baloney.

This is why frauds like this, when they are discovered, virtually always are uncovered by suspicion over the quantity of faux-prestigious wine they put into the market, and almost never by suspicion over the taste of it. Because suckers can make themselves believe that Smuckers grape jelly tastes like Bourdeaux if the label and the price and the sommelier's description of the friggin' flavor notes or whatever line up convincingly.

Anyway, hey, good on ya, Italian wine cops. Someone should make a suspenseful TV show about Italian wine cops.

[The Guardian]

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