The Billionaire's Vinegar

The Billionaire's Vinegar

The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine

Book - 2009
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oPart detective story, part wine history, this is one juicy tale, even for those with no interest in the fruit of the vine. . . . As delicious as a true vintage Lafite.o -BusinessWeek

The Billionaire's Vinegar , now a New York Times bestseller , tells the true story of a 1787 ChOteau Lafite Bordeaux-supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson-that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players-from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle. Suspenseful and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries.

Updated for paperback with a new epilogue.
Publisher: New York : Three Rivers Press, c2009
Edition: 1st pbk. ed. --
ISBN: 9780307338785
Branch Call Number: 641.2223 Wal 3564
Characteristics: x, 323 p


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Nov 28, 2016

I've shelved this book as "Curiosity" to signify that it cannot fit into any of the usual shelves; it appears to lie somewhere between social commentary (reflecting bizarre or outlandish human behavior) and outright fiction (despite the fact that the events recounted really happened). It purports to be a mystery but the only thing mysterious is the readiness of supposedly sophisticated people to be hoodwinked into paying completely outrageous sums for bottles of wine that in many cases were likely to be undrinkable and to believe (or pretend to believe) fanciful claims about the origin of the items offered for sale -- all of this in pursuit of some kind of one-upmanship over their peers.
The tale told here has no relationship to the ordinary pleasure of enjoying a decent glass of wine. This is all about what Noel Coward famously termed "wretched excess". The saving grace is that the men who were taken in were willing participants in the scheme, they could certainly afford to do so and they got what they deserved.

Mar 12, 2011

Even if your only connection with wine is an occasional glass of merlot with dinner, this book will keep you interested and turning pages!

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