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March 25, 1998|CHARLES PERRY

I'm Penfolds--Poor Me

An Australian wine merchant has discovered half a dozen fake bottles of the country's most famous wine, Penfolds Grange. The 1990 vintage, the one Langton's Fine Wine Auctions found to be counterfeited, originally went on the market at $99 a bottle, but in 1995, after Wine Spectator named it the magazine's wine of the year, the price soared and '90 Penfolds Grange is now $330 a bottle.

Australian industry figures are downplaying the likelihood that large-scale false labeling is going on. Particularly if it's as sloppily done as in this case. The fake bottles carried a black bar code, while the genuine 1990 grange had a red code, and the counterfeit misspelled the word "pour" in the text of the label as "poor."

It's Spamlicious

Some weeks back, San Diego resident Alberta Dunbar won the National Best Spam Recipe competition with a Spam cheesecake flavored with chutney, brandy, olives, pine nuts and blue and feta cheeses. The contest representatives went wild over it: "Serving SPAM Cheesecake may become an American status symbol comparable to drinking bottled water or decorating a la Martha Stewart," they enthused. Hmm. Maybe when Martha herself gets Spam-conscious.

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