The Billionaire's Vinegar

Wine, Beer, Weed and the hard stuff
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Falstaff
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The Billionaire's Vinegar

Post by Falstaff » May 27th 2020, 10:20am

Just finished re-reading one of the favorites in my wine library - The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace. It chronicles the story of a hidden cache of Bordeaux wines purportedly owned by Thomas Jefferson that were auctioned for enormous sums of money and later found to be fakes. A German connoisseur named Hardy Rodenstock with a reputation for discovering rare wines claimed to have found the wine walled up in the cellar of a house in Paris being torn down. The bottles were engraved with the initials Th. J. and appeared to be period correct - moreover many of the bottles had high fill levels, meaning the wine had survived intact - and very possibly drinkable. Rodenstock offered the first of the Jefferson bottles for auction in 1985 by Christie's - a 1787 Chateau Lafite. It was purchased on the orders of Malcolm Forbes by his son Kip for $156,000 - the highest price ever paid for a bottle of wine at that time. Rodenstock continued to offer his Jefferson bottles for sale as well as extremely rare large format bottles of Chateau Petrus and others from scarce vintages. Despite the skepticism of Jefferson scholars and the lack of any reference in Jefferson's meticulously kept account books, the Jefferson bottles were accepted as genuine and fetched huge sums. It wasn't until one of the Koch brothers, Bill, who had bought 4 of the Jefferson bottles began to be suspicious, bit the bullet, and had the wine scientifically tested. After all, who wanted to sacrifice a 50 or 60 thousand dollar bottle of wine to have it tested and find out that it was legitimate all along? Nonetheless, the testing showed that the supposed 18th century wine was no older than 1962. The dominoes began to fall after that, with more and more Rodenstock sourced bottles discovered to be fakes. The Billionaire's Vinegar (282 pp.) reads like a detective story as well as a fascinating insight into wine counterfeiting and the one-upmanship of the very top tier of wine collectors. Rodenstock died in 2018 at 76 yrs. of age.

https://www.winespectator.com/articles/ ... dies-at-76
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Re: The Billionaire's Vinegar

Post by bbattle » May 27th 2020, 5:39pm

Any history buff would have known those wines were not Jeffersonian. That man loved his wines.

And I really wish it would stop raining for a few days. We've had 39.33 inches of rain this year. That's more than most states get all year and we haven't hit the half way point yet. 21 inches since March 1! It's been rainy and cool all spring. I think we've had 2 or 3 days total which felt "normal".

And now it's raining again. Should be well over 40 inches come June 1. 70-80 inches for the year is a safe calculation.

And it's raining hard. Like a cow pissing on a flat rock.
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Re: The Billionaire's Vinegar

Post by Falstaff » May 28th 2020, 10:16am

DocKlock wrote:
May 28th 2020, 5:47am
I know almost nothing about wine. To me, Two Buck Chuck is fine.
Whenever I drink wine, which is seldom, I tend to drink it like beer --- in large gulps.
Nothing wrong with Two Buck Chuck. Chuck got its reputation not only because of its price, but because it's actually a reasonably decent wine. Many of the very reasonably priced Costco Kirkland branded wines receive high marks in blind tastings. Just goes to show that good wine need not be expensive. I do have to say that if you ever happen to drink a truly great wine, it will color your perception of every other wine you drink after that. It can be that memorable.
"Open the pod bay doors, Hal." "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."
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