Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We need a new TV series: CSI Bordeaux, July 13, 2008
This review is from: The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine (Hardcover)
As a wine writer for more than 30 years who knows some of the players mentioned in the book, I enjoyed the way Benjamin Wallace cleverly wove together history, the world of wine and France in particular and the hoax so many bought into. Not only does he chronicle an incredible array of details into understandable context with dexterity, he weaves in a steady thread of humor (Harry Waugh, the English wine merchant and writer, was once asked how often he confused Bordeaux with Burgundy. "Not since lunch," he replied."). The confusion and complicity of some of the world's best-known wine critics and auctioneers comes to light as the hoax unfolds. Some reputations are ruined because of seeming complicity.

One parallel that might have been pursued further: the brilliance of Bill Koch, the billionaire who exposed the fraud, and Thomas Jefferson, whose name was attached to the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. Both were meticulous in their work and record-keeping. The fact that no records existed at Monticello of the so-called Jefferson bottles should have put the Rodenstock collection into question immediately. Then, with carbon dating and other modern technology, the Koch team exposed the fraud. A tale well told.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 2, 2008 10:24:31 AM PDT
EdieKay says:
Loved the headline you posted to this. I thought the same thing!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2009 12:35:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2009 12:38:55 PM PST
The enormous and ongoing deceit throughout the industry is what's the real problem - not a few old bottles faked up. I especially enjoyed the reference to Harry Waugh's honest observation about how humbling wine tasting is. You would never know this by the horde of know-it-alls who appear everywhere and say the most absurd things. When a major - read over-hyped - food 'personality' in Great Britain can claim on the front page of the most respected British newspaper that she once witnessed the same paper's wine critic (Whose only claim to fame is how she's kept her job given how constantly wrong she is) identify blind ten different clarets and also give their vintages...it's a farce.
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