"So a funny thing happened on the way to Christie's." Sounds like the start of a joke, but for Charlie Trotter, it's no laughing matter. A few weeks ago, all the wine from his four cellars at the restaurant was boxed up, labeled, logged and taken to a distribution center in Chicago before it was loaded onto trucks headed to New York for the upcoming auction announced this week.
Upon arrival in New York, the Christie's folks quickly realized that an entire pallet— 60 cases of wine, according to Trotter—was missing. "There were some pristine older Bordeauxs, some red Burgundies," Trotter told Eater. "Most was above mid-level, but not necessarily great wine. But a bunch of great wine went missing. We didn't have any bad wine in our cellar. Ten percent that was taken was the highest-end level."
Trotter said he doesn't know the exact value of the wine that was stolen, but that it was insured. The Christie's folks, who Trotter said are "mortified" and assured "they've never had anything stolen," said he'll get fair market value for the wine. "Isn't the point of an auction to get more than fair market?" Trotter asked. He said Christie's is now taking this matter very seriously and launched an investigation. "It's a huge blemish on them." When contacted, a spokesperson for Christie's simply replied, "As this is a matter of ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment at this time."
Trotter said they don't know if it was an employee at the distribution center not knowing what they were taking or whether someone who knew what they were doing. "Every box had Charlie Trotter's written on it," he said. "There's still so much more wine. It's not a huge thing." Yeah, no big deal.
· Christie's to Auction Charlie Trotter's Wine Collection; Sale Expected to Fetch $1MM [~EChi~]
· All Charlie Trotter Coverage on Eater Chicago [~EChi~]
Charlie Trotter [Photo: The Inquisitir]