I thought this book was vastly entertaining and interesting particularly since I have an interest in wine and live in Jefferson's back yard-Charlottesville, Va. The first part of the book has a lot of background on wine: the old chateaux in Bordeau, the Burgundy region, etc. as well as on Jefferson's meanderings in the wine world. One can learn a lot about older, classic vintages such as pre phylloxera, about wine auctions through Sotheby's and Christie's. A strange sub culture of elite wine tasters emerges who regularly get to sample very expensive old wines through marathon tastings in remarkable places. However, the book focuses on the burgeoning world of the wine cheats who often sell completely fraudulent wines for exorbitant prices. This aspect of the culture was very disappointing and at least for me not quite as interesting. Overall, though, if any of the above areas interest you, you will definitely enjoy this book.
For someone who's recently taken an interest in all things 'wine' I thought this sounded like an interesting read. Sadly due to an ongoing lawsuit (i think) it's not available to buy in the UK. I managed to get a copy in very good condition for pennies sent from the US and really enjoyed it. The one part of the book i felt could've been explored more was the opening few chapters, describing Michael Broadbent's young days spent touring around the wine cellars of the landed gentry. I'd love to know more about this and his experiences there, plus it would've maybe given more flavour to one of the main characters of the book.
I'm a wine enthusiast (geek) so I know most of the names that appear in the book from other books, magazines, wine tastings and the wine trade in general.
It's really fun to follow the story of the Thomas Jefferson bottles the way the author describes it and with all those known characters. Actually, after reading the book I changed my perception of a lot of them and also of how seriously I take their reviews and tastings into account.
Plus the story has enough mistery and investigative work to appeal even to non wine geeks.
Very slow to start but that's due to the writer needing to educate those readers unfamiliar with the world of wine and the history of Jefferson. The book only starts moving 60% of the way through and then it becomes a real page turner. A book that not only tells a complex story but also exposes a bonfire of vanities of those in the antiquities business.
I was interested in this book due to recent news about wine fraud. I work in the wine industry, but think this is sufficiently well written and explanatory that those with little or no wine knowledge should find it easy to understand and a really enjoyable read. Thought it might be a little dry, but there's enough 'plot' to keep it interesting.