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The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace 17/06/2008 (TNB)

I was sent a copy of this book recently and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. It is about the Hardy Rodenstock affair and forgeries in the fine wine market. The author paints a good picture of the growing interest in fine old bottles since the Second World War and the accompanying price inflation that led to the current situation where many believe that fake bottles are not uncommon. Every now and then the author says something that makes one realise that he is not himself a fine wine man, but on the whole it seems well-researched and the descriptions of the dramatic scenes at Christies when the first "Jefferson bottle" was sold at auction are very convincing.

You would have to say that the UK wine trade in general don't emerge from all this smelling of roses: I got the impression that too many of them were so keen on hyping the market to new levels that they were blind to the rather obvious possibility that some of what was being traded was dubious.

Wallace though also paints a picture of genuine wine-lovers being led astray by their enthusiasm, and if you want to understand how it came to be that a lot of the notes on the oldest and rarest Clarets in Broadbent's wonderful book are regarded with suspicion these days, then this is a good book to read.

Article added to Fine Wine Diary 17/06/2008   Return to top