- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Twelve; Reprint edition (July 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1455516090
- ISBN-13: 978-1455516094
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine Paperback – July 28, 2015
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"Inspired by a daring crime that a lesser writer might reduce to police procedural, Maximillian Potter has opened a portal into a fabled world unknown to outsiders. The story he so compellingly recounts in SHADOWS IN THE VINEYARD breathes, like the hallowed wine at its heart, with life and history and wonder." "Benjamin Wallace, author of "The Billionaire's Vinegar"""
"Aubert de Villaine is the legend behind the legend. DRC is the most celebrated wine on the planet and the place where the alchemy of the soul of the earth, combined with the elements, as well as the knowledge and wisdom of craftsmen, are united to create this magical nectar. But out of nowhere, the dark side interfered and this inconceivable thriller began. This riveting story, where good ultimately triumphs, instills a renewed appreciation of the Cote d'Or region, its people, and the passion that is the fortitude behind this incredible wine." "Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner, Le Bernardin, author of "Avec Eric"""
"An arch-criminal clicks on his headlamp in his underground lair and instantly, you're hooked. SHADOWS IN THE VINEYARD is non-fiction at its nail-biting best, a literary true-crime thriller that plunges you into the manhunt to apprehend - and understand - a mysterious villain who set out to destroy the most treasured wines in the world. SHADOWS IN THE VINEYARD is so full of bizarre twists and one-of-a-kind characters that if you think you know what's coming next, just wait till you turn the page." "Christopher McDougall, author of "Born to Run"""
"Maximillian Potter has taken a sinister plot and woven an intriguing story around the most revered wine estate in the world with the most respected winemaker at its helm. Through this event he has painted a colorful tableau filled with fascinating historical evidence on why the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, the terroir of Burgundy, and the culture of Burgundy, are among the most treasured and special sites on the planet. Bravo." "Daniel Boulud, James Beard Award-winning chef, and Daniel Johnnes, James Beard Award-winning sommelier""
"A gripping, real-life mystery and an intimate portrait of one of the world's great wine-makers as he battles the man bent on destroying five centuries of greatness. Maximillian Potter has always been an outstanding reporter and now he reveals the fascinating story of France's legendary vineyard, Domaine Romain Conti." "Michael Hainey, author of "After Visiting Friends"""
"A whodunit with a culprit worthy of a Woody Allen film, Potter's first book is a rich study of a cinematic crime and bona fide page-turner....Even the most devout teetotaler will have a hard time putting this one down." "Publishers Weekly (STARRED)""
"[Potter] places the crime in a broad, rich, historical and cultural context that is engaging" ""USA Today"""
"A gripping crime drama more creative than most procedurals, and Potter does excellent working in fleshing out both the involved players and the historical context of the Burgundy region and its oenophiles." ""The Daily Beast""" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Maximillian Potter is the senior media adviser for the Governor of Colorado. Formerly, the executive editor of 5280: Denver's Magazine, he was a staff writer at Premiere, Philadelphia, and GQ and has been a contributing editor to Men's Health/Best Life and Details, and contributor to Vanity Fair. A native of Philadelphia with a BA from Allegheny College and MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill Schoo, he lives in Denver with his family.
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Top customer reviews
Subject-wise, this book mixes history, agriculture, biography, and uses crime more as a pretense to expand on multitudes of topics. If anything, this book falls in line with a well-established literary tradition of books about nothing in particular but everything at once, written by what used to be called “men of letters”. Such mosaic of stories results in a “cumulative” effect, when by the end it grows bigger than the sum of its parts. In other words, one has to complete reading it in order to fully appreciate what a rare gem of a book this is. Which should pose no problem to anyone, unless a truly severe remission of ADHD gets in a way. I personally managed to finish the book in two sessions of about one hour and half each. Very Highly Recommended. Hope this helps.
The 2010 crime within the French vineyard itself is daring, potentially devastating to the vineyard, and both complex and time-consuming to pull off, as an unknown person or persons sets out to extort a million euros from M. Aubert de Villaine, the seventy-one-year-old "Grand Monsieur" who runs the Domaine with his cousin Henri-Frederic Roch. When Aubert de Villaine does not act upon receiving a message, the extortionist gives one last warning, providing more specific information and indicating that he has already drilled the bases of seven hundred vines and has already begun injecting them with poison. He will continue to do this if his terms are not met.
Author Potter's broad approach to this subject resembles a compilation of stories about the vineyard, its owners, and its history, jumping back to the time of Louis XV and Madame Pompadour, and then jumping forward to the present, then toggling back and forth. While some might argue that such an approach slows down the narrative, others will treasure the insights gained into the whole subject of wine-producing. Throughout the book, Potter keeps the personalities of his subjects front and center, giving life to a subject which might otherwise feel static. King Louis XV, Madame Pompadour, and the Prince de Conti, an ancestor of the vineyard's owner and cousin of Louis XV, share space with scenes of the extortionist, living in a tiny eighty square-foot cabin carefully disguised on the de Villaine property, while two police try to discover who he is.
In the last pages of the book, the author raises questions regarding the succession to M. Aubert de Villaine's position and who the choice may be. He talks about his own background and his reasons for writing the book and his opinions about wine critics with their elaborately over-the-top descriptions of wine, then describes having his first taste of Burgundy in the cellars of Domaine Romanee-Conti, with M. Aubert in decidedly different terms. He tells le Grand Monsieur: "This may sound crazy to you, but when I was a kid there was a candy called Pop Rocks. It was like candied sand and when you put it in your mouth, it sort of bounced around and filled your mouth. "[This wine] is like divine, liquefied Pop Rocks that make me feel lightheaded - the kind of happiness that I felt after I first kissed my wife."