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The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Paperback – April 14, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
So this is a really good book, except that it feels like an unfinished story, probably with several more chapters to go before it's played out. This is the problem with writing about true current events. The facts are still unfolding; it's hard to know where a tale "ends." Sometimes, that's not even clear with events that are clearly put into the historical bucket.
The bottle in question was auctioned by Christie's in 1985. It was a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux, and was presented as having been part of the cellar of the wine enthusiast Thomas Jefferson. It was engraved "1787 Lafitte" (the way they spelled it then) and had the initials "Th.J.Read more ›
Wallace leads the reader over decades of intrigue and deception, as it becomes seemingly increasingly evident that much of such rare wine (including that bottle of 1787 Lafite) is fraudulent. The portraits of the people involved -- sellers and buyers and auctioneers and technical experts -- are well-drawn. What is perhaps most remarkable is that Wallace appears to have formed and maintained cordial relationships with almost every major player in the story, including the man widely suspected of being the chief wine faker, giving the author an unmatched view of the whole business.
Even if your only connection with wine is an occasional glass of grape with dinner, "The Billionaire's Vinegar" is a book almost guaranteed to hold your interest -- and to teach you more about wine than you have ever known.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent read! If you like wine AND food, this is a great story with lots of plots and twists.Published 6 days ago by Tracy P Turner
Fascinating non-fiction about the sale of a VERY expensive, rare, historic bottle of wine that leads to international consternation and research.
Do you like history? Read more
This book is sooooo boring and I didn't finish it. If you want to become a wine connoisseur then you might enjoy reading this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Laura M Hertsenberg
Heard a review and was interested. Well written and easy to follow. Fascinating recap of all the forgery that has existed over the last 30 years in the rare wine market.Published 2 months ago by Jonathan E. Vance
Bought several and passed them on to friends who love wine. A real life mysteryPublished 3 months ago by Lawrence Plummer
A neat tour of the top end of the wine world suitable for people with a limited knowledge of wine.Published 4 months ago by Charles A Walters