The four directors of Maison Labouré-Roi have been thrown in the slammer, charged with the heinous crime of wine fraud.
The ol’ Gendarme busted the 180-year-old Burgundy negociant house after an 18-month investigation by the National Fraud Office. Computers and files have been seized from the firm’s Nuits-Saint-Georges property.
Labouré-Roi, is the largest producer in the Burgundy region to supply wine to airlines. It is also estimated that 50% of net sales from Labouré-Roi comes from its exports, through working with hundreds of Burgundy growers.
Public Prosecutor Eric Lallement stated during a press conference on June 13th that the fraud office first became aware of a problem after the figures Labouré-Roi had reported bottling and what their grape yields were declared to be at harvest time were a little “sketchy” (my words, not theirs….obviously). “With the number of bottles in question,” said Lallement, “this can not have been simply a casual mistake.”
The magnitude of this fraud is estimated to be around 1.1m bottles.
On further investigation, numerous other frauds were discovered including topping up wine from their Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Village appellations with juice of a table wine level of quality. The investigation also uncovered an instance when Labouré-Roi had completely ran out of wine and were faced with an order which it needed to fulfill, where they allegedly swapped out the labels with other wines.
Wow!!! <shakes head> You think you know someone!
I hope this isn’t true, I’ve always been quite a big fan of Labouré-Roi.
Maybe it’s just that I’m paying more attention to wine news nowadays, but wine fraud does seem to be cropping up more and more.
I can see how it would be all too tempting engage in a little “wine tomfoolery” when the French economy is garbage and you need to do everything you can to make ends meet. It’s all too easy to do!
Not that I’m justifying the alleged Labouré-Roi actions, but it seems to follow the same path as the Gallo “incident” whereby there was an obvious fraud committed, but not one customer complaint was ever filed (or at least recorded…however that would be achieved) based on the taste. How much money do you want to bet that this is going-on a hell of a lot more than everyone thinks, but most of the other producers are too small to be a target for fraud squads around the world. I’ll let you mull that one over for a little while…