CHICAGO — Two men from The Bronx are seeking $75,000 in damages from Charlie Trotter after saying the famed chef sold them a $46,000 bottle of counterfeit wine.
Bekim and Ilir Frrokaj filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday saying the two had gone to dinner at Trotter's now-shuttered Lincoln Park restaurant in June 2012 after discussing the purchase of a 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti magnum with one of the chef's employees.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or DRC, is an estate in Burgundy, France, that produces some of the world's best wine, experts say.
"During dinner, Charlie Trotter and the sommelier explained the rarity and value of the DRC magnum" and "also spoke about wines from the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti estate and how those wines are some of the rarest and most valuable in the world," according to the lawsuit.
After agreeing on a price and payment, Trotter shipped out the bottle a few days later, the lawsuit says.
When Bekim Frrokaj notified his insurance carrier that he wanted the bottle insured, the agency told him that such bottles have a tendency to be counterfeited, according to court documents.
A San Francisco-based wine consultant determined the bottle "was counterfeit and valueless" and confirmed her analysis when she later visited the wine's purported estate in eastern France.
"It is a known fact that Romanee conti did not bottle large formats in 1945," Maureen Downey of Chai Consulting wrote in her analysis. "This bottle is identical to other known counterfeit examples and is believed to be from the same counterfeit source."
The $75,000 demand includes $30,000 in punitive damages.