OPINION: Drops of God is a mini-series about a large wine inheritance and the civilised battle between a Japanese wine enthusiast, Issei, and a French woman whose nose bleeds when she tastes wine.
Rudy Kurniawan was recently seen at a wine tasting in Singapore, where he joined a group of seven guests who blind-tasted a 1990 DRC Romanée- Conti and a 1990 Petrus against two forgeries he had prepared.
Wine fraudbuster Maureen Downey revealed on her website (winefraud.com) that most of the tasters preferred the forged wines. She reported on similar tasting events with Kurniawan in attendance.
“He talks to his big collector friends and they pull some of the biggest wines that they have out of their cellars. That guy gives Rudy the list. Rudy makes his version of the wines. They have a meal and they taste them side-by-side, blind. The man that writes the tasting notes is very good. The overall impression is that people prefer Rudy’s wines, because they’re fresher. That really speaks to the audience.”
Rudy is not doing anything illegal, because everyone knows they are dealing with forgeries, and he is showered with praise by the wealthy hosts and willing guests, one of whom labelled him as a “vinous genius.”
He’s certainly a celebrity. It wouldn’t surprise me if he expanded his market by making more affordable “Genuine Kurniawan Forgeries” in gift boxes that include an original wine to compare with the forgery. Penfolds Grange would be an obvious target.