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Rare Bottles of Wine Hit Auction, Come With a Funny Story

The bottles come from the collection of a convicted wine counterfeiter.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Need a stocking stuffer for the one-percenter oenophile in your life? How about a nice $13,000 bottle of Burgundy courtesy of the U.S. Marshals?

The federal law enforcement agency is preparing to auction off quite the collection of rare wines, courtesy of a convicted wine counterfeiter who's now doing hard time. Rudy Kurniawan was sentenced to ten years in prison last year after selling millions of dollars worth of purportedly rare wines — which actually turned out to be blends of other wines that were re-bottled with fake labels.

According to the Washington Times, "Starting bids for the wines seized from the wine connoisseur range from $13,500 for a 2002 1.5 liter bottle of Romanée Conti from the vineyards of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Burgundy’s best-known wine producer, to $75 for 12 bottles of Liberty Bay Cellars Merlot."

Buying pricey wine from a convicted counterfeiter may seem like a sketchy proposition, but the Times says "the more than 4,700 bottles of wine up for sale have been deemed authentic."

This lot of wine is unrelated to the one stolen from a Chablis producer this summer in France. That lot of wine was worth a combined $56,422, and has not been recovered.

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