Rote journalism injected with considerable padding, but there’s no denying the appeal of this enthrallingly mad and...

THE BILLIONAIRE’s VINEGAR

THE MYSTERY OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE BOTTLE OF WINE

Elaborate account of a delicious hoax played on the world’s wine experts and fabulously wealthy.

According to magazine writer Wallace, a chummy partnership between two well-connected Europeans largely created the interest in historic vintages that reached its apogee in 1985 with the $156,000 purchase by the Forbes family of a 1787 Château Lafite engraved with the initials “Th.J.”—i.e., Thomas Jefferson. Michael Broadbent was the suave founding director of Christie’s wine department, which had come to dominate the global market in old and rare wines to the tune of millions of dollars. Broadbent’s palate was considered the most experienced in the world, and he scoured the cellars of his aristocratic acquaintances to unearth rare vintages. The purported Jefferson bottle was consigned to Christie’s by German collector Hardy Rodenstock, who spun a hazy story of workers tearing down a house in Paris, breaking through a false wall and happening upon a cache of extremely old wines. Jefferson, America’s first wine connoisseur, lived in Paris from 1784 to 1789 and began buying directly from the chateaux; with France disrupted by revolution, this particular order apparently didn’t make it back to Monticello. Rodenstock boasted that he had purchased two dozen engraved bottles of 1784 and 1787 vintages of Lafite, Margaux, Yquem and Branne-Mouton (all of which dribbled to market), but he would not divulge the seller, and the wine’s provenance came under suspicion. Wallace traces various attempts to determine the bottles’ authenticity, including analysis of ullage (fill level), cork, label, engraving, bottle and the taste of the ancient liquid, often doctored by adding later vintages. The author offers a revealing look at the influx into the esoteric field of wine connoisseurship of major-player egos and big money, which created a tricky and rarified market similar to that for expensive art—and encouraged fakes in both.

Rote journalism injected with considerable padding, but there’s no denying the appeal of this enthrallingly mad and recondite subject.

Pub Date: May 13, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-307-33877-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

more