....before you spend half a million dollars on it. File this under "problems we would all like to have." Florida millionaire Bill Koch was very excited 18 years ago. He had gotten his hands on a couple of dusty bottles with the initials "TH.J" engraved on them. Discovered in the cellar of a wealthy old wine family in Paris, the bottles were auctioned off as wine made for the library of none other than Thomas Jefferson, who had a habit of ordering French wine directly from producers.
Koch proudly added the bottles to his 35,000 bottle cellar. But then doubts began to surface, little bits of information here and there, enough for Koch to believe he might not have gotten the genuine article. So what is a suspicious millionaire wine lover do? Koch spent nearly another half-million dollars investigating his bottles.
The end result? Turns out the engraving was made with an electric tool, not, um, whatever it was they used back in the 1700s (acid etching?). So now Florida has an unhappy millionaire wine lover and one big lawsuit. Turns out Koch wasn't the only one fooled. Malcolm Forbes (yes THAT Forbes) also paid an astronomical sum for a bottle.
So let this be a lesson to you. Next time you go buying a 17th century wine, bring along some folks from a history museum to set you straight.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Wine and Beauty Explained San Francisco's Lost Sommeliers Finding Pirate Treasure With a Corkscrew Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 1, 2015 Vinography Images: Sonoma Spring Siduri Wines: Rewarding the Search for Flavor Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 22, 2015 Vinography Images: Frost and Fog The Glory of 2013 Napa Cabernet: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley A Dose of Claret: Visiting With 2010 Bordeaux
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune