Text Size:-+
06.16.2010

Slate Digs Into The Seedy Underbelly of Fine Wine

1921_petrus_joke.jpgPretty much anyone who consumes any wine media at all couldn't have avoided hearing the names Hardy Rodenstock, William Koch, Michael Broadbent, and Thomas Jefferson in the past year or two. The story of Koch and his purchase of, and subsequent lawsuit over, forged bottles of wine purported to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson has gotten a lot of air time, been reported on relentlessly, and of course been dramatized in the well written book, The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace.

If by chance you haven't heard about this saga rippling through the world of fine wine, never fear, the major motion picture will be coming out in 2012, directed by David Koepp.

I've read many accounts of the issues, allegations, facts, and emotions surrounding the various players in the scandal. I've also watched with interest as the story has started to become less about the cantankerous Koch and his bottomless legal coffers, and more about the growing epidemic of counterfeit wine in the upper echelons of the wine industry.

And now Michael Steinberger, one of my favorite wine writers, has just penned a truly exceptional piece of investigative wine journalism that throws new light on many shadowy nooks and crannies of the luxury wine market, including the role that Robert Parker may have unwittingly played in encouraging the growing counterfeit wine industry.

Even if you have gotten a little tired of this story, as I have, this lengthy exposé is worth reading in its entirety. I'll go out on a limb here and peg it as the most likely contender I've ever seen for a James Beard Journalism award. It's great stuff.

Check it out. You'll never want to buy another magnum of 1921 Petrus again.

Comments (3)

Rob Wade wrote:
06.17.10 at 10:51 AM

Don't know if you've heard of the proton beam testing of wine bottles being done by the university of Bordeaux? (link to article below if you're interested). I think when this type of testing becomes more affordable it might well become standard for rare wine purchases.

At least if you buy fake fine art, it's still nice to look at. Paying $20,000 or more for a bottle of vinegar is just all bad.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3350950/Atomic-boffins-spot-fake-wines.html

Cat wrote:
06.17.10 at 10:57 AM

I thought this was one of the most well researched and fascinating articles I've ever read. Counterfeit wine and wine fraud is a scary subject. How could anyone trust guys who left rare and expensive wines just sitting around under someone's lunch?

Mart S. wrote:
06.17.10 at 7:56 PM

Bad news. Hope that proton beam testing on wines would turn out great.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)
Yes
 

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Tallying the Damage from the Napa Quake Vinography Images: A Sea of Blue Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 14, 2014 The Taste of Something New: Introducing Solminer Wines Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.