A taste for history


Let’s be honest. With a title like The Billionaire’s Vinegar, you know how this story will end.
I suppose there are actually two options:
1. An authentic 1787 wine tastes like crap or,
2. Someone spent a billion dollars on wine so fake it may as well be vinegar.
(I’m going to spoil it for you – it’s the latter.)

USA Today calls the book ‘a delicious mystery’ but I never really saw the mystery. From page one (and the back of the book that uses such clever and subtle words like ‘supposedly’ and ‘truly’ and ‘con’) it’s pretty obvious that something is amiss. The bigger mystery to me was whether or not Rodenstock would go to jail. (That one I won’t reveal.)

What I really appreciated about The Billionaire’s Vinegar was the new world I entered. This was an in-depth, crash course on the world of the rich and famous and the obscure old wines they keep.

I will never forget how to spell Yquem. Apparently, it’s awesome.

I feel inclined to know what crystallized violets and clean bandages smell like.

I love the nickname Cinder.

Originally, agents sold wine on behalf of the chateaux and people bought a barrel of wine and decanted into their own ramshackle bottle options for personal storage.

An old cork sounds gross.

But I’m still not sure which is better, a vertical or a horizontal tasting.

Whether fiction or non-fiction, I enjoy traveling to a brand new world – to me at least – and learning something new. The Billionaire’s Vinegar felt more like a travelogue than a journalistic history – London to France to New York and back in time as well. I will never enter this world but I like that I know it a bit better.

Bonus thought: I like this thought best in the entire novel, all the way at the end.

“As with all successful cons, the marks and the grifter had been collaborators. One sold the illusion that the others were desperate to buy.”

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