French Laundry wine theft, is Neal Caffrey in town?


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White Collar, a very popular TV show on USA network now is in its 5th and final season.  The show surrounds a charming ex-conman -Neal Caffrey; in exchange for reduced sentence and freedom, Neal agrees to help the FBI solving white collar crimes.  With his expertise in fine arts, jewelry and pretty much most thing collectibles, Neal is unstoppable with Peter Burke, the FBI director of the white collar division in New York city.  Not just arts, Neal has an equally expensive taste for fine wines.

In its first season, episode 12 named “Bottlenecked” was about an auction of a Benjamin Franklin wine bottle dated 1785, it was eventually auctioned for $1 million.  Although these is no knowledge that the bottle ever existed, however many (wine) facts circumstantial in the show were indeed very true.

Chateau Mouton Rothchild Pauillac France 2009 SNow to reality, July 2010, Rudy Kurniawan has finally been sentenced to 10 years in prison after convicted of counterfeiting wines and wire fraud.  Many of his counterfeit wines were sold in lots at auctions in the millions of dollars, this had gone on since 2007 until he was indicted in March 2012.  He was known as Dr. Conti, in reference to his impressive collection of Romanee-Conti; a few of his other counterfeited wines were Chateau Mounton Rothchild, Chateau Le Pin, Chateau Lafleur, Domaine Ponsot Clos St. Denis Grand Cru, Domaine Georges Roumier and Domaine Georges Roumier.  This is pretty much the holy-grail of wine bucket-list.

Screaming Eagle S2Not too long ago, a popular South Bay Michelin-starred restaurant, Plumed Horse, lost several high end bottles of wine -together worth in the tens of thousands, such as a single bottle of A Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1988 is marked at $9,800. 

More recently, over the 2014 Christmas Holiday, the French Laundry, a highly famed 3-Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of Napa Valley, was broken into.  Someone got away with over $300,000 worth of fine wines, most of them were different vintages of Screaming Eagle of Napa Valley and Romanee-Conti of Burgundy, France.  Some of these depending on the vintage could fetch close to $10,000 each.

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When it comes to Neal Caffrey, his charming good look and expensive taste have fans falling head-over-heels with his character despite the fact that he once was a con man with occasional relapses.  With many high-end restaurants being targeted for their expensive wines, perhaps, a real-life Neal Caffrey is really out there sipping on a fine glass of Burgundy while planning his next move -unfortunately this time he’s not working with any law enforcement agency.

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