The Billionaire's Vinegar, by Benjamin Wallace, is a true story, only recently somewhat resolved. Several decades ago, a German wine enthusiast found a cache of cellared wine in Paris which he believed originally belonged to Thomas Jefferson. Several of you have probably heard details of this story, since one of the bottles sold at auction to Malcolm Forbes's son back in the '80's, becoming the most expensive wine ever sold. It's a twisting, complex tale of truth and lies, money and power, obsessive collecting, people believing what they want to believe, and it winds its way from the early '70's to as recently as two years ago.
I love that the author keeps the story interesting (too many true stories aren't written well), that despite the wealth of information I had to absorb to understand the story line (I knew so little about wine and its world), Wallace kept me engaged, interested in knowing more about the subject so I could continue reading. The Billionaire's Vinegar almost reads like fiction stylistically, which makes it a hit for me.
In talking through the book with my Hunny (when I'm absorbed in a book, I talk through the plot with him), he remarked that it was a Blink book. Why yes! The characters in the book all had some sort of gut check about the German's story, about the tastings, about the murky elements surrounding the bottles' origins. Nearly everyone chose to ignore what they knew and believe what they wanted to be true. Blink, by the way, is a phenomenal book and I highly recommend it.
So yes, I recommend The Billionaire's Vinegar. If it were a movie, I'd say wait till it came out on video. In other words, pick up the paperback or head to your local library. But that's mostly because I prefer fiction to non. I you're a wine afficianado, you'll probably want the hardback edition.
Until I write again ...