Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Favorite Reads: The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace

At Home With Books hosts this weekly feature, a review of a favorite reads from the past. March is National Nutrition Month, so all this month I have books about food/wine! Yum! First up:

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace

Summary (from the publisher):
The Billionaire’s Vinegar tells the true story of a 1787 Ch√Ęteau Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s—that sold for $156,000 at auction, and the eccentrics who 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 Michael Broadbent, the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women; to Serena Sutcliffe, Broadbent’s elegant archrival at Sotheby’s; to Hardy Rodenstock, the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle; to Bill Koch, the Florida tycoon who is bent on exposing the truth about Rodenstock.

Why I chose this book:
Billionaire's Vinegar was just terrific! It might have been a tad slow to start but once it got off and running, it was impossible to put down! Hardy Rodenstock is such an outlandish character, and all the records and the gullibility of the stars of the wine-world could only be believable in nonfiction. I learned a lot, had fun as an armchair vinophile, and while the bad guy didn't get quite the comeupppance in the end that I had hoped for, I feel sure Mr. Koch will continue to pursue all means to dole out just punishment. Certainly made me want to try a very good bottle of wine (or twenty).
Read: 9/08


Sherrie said...

Sounds like an intriguing book. Thanks for stopping by Just Books. Have a great day!


Alyce said...

I have heard of this book before, and even though I'm not someone who is that interested in wine this book caught my attention. It looks like a very interesting account.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Oh, I love wine, I love mystery, so this sounds like a winner!

Mine is here:


Carin said...

Sounds like a good read. Have you seen the movie, Bottle Shock? It's a decent wine movie about the rise of California wines. Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman, and Chris Pine star in it. I've come to realize that I like just about anything with Alan Rickman in it. :)