Journalist Maximillian Potter uncovers a fascinating plot to destroy the vines of La Romance-Conti, Burgundy's finest and most expensive wine.
In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romance-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France's top detectives, the primary suspect's suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world's greatest wine.
Shadows in the Vineyard takes us deep into a captivating world full of fascinating characters, small-town French politics, an unforgettable narrative, and a local culture defined by the twinned veins of excess and vitality and the deep reverent attention to the land that runs through it.
A whodunit with a culprit worthy of a Woody Allen film, Potter's first book is a rich study of a cinematic crime and bona fide page-turner. Expanding on an article first published in Vanity Fair, Potter ushers readers into the Burgundy cellars of Domaine de la Roman e-Conti, one of France's most prestigious wineries, and introduces its proprietor, the humble Aubert de Villaine, as he outlines a plot to extort a million Euros from him. The author's passion for his subject is palpable from the outset, as is his fondness for the troubled Villaine, particularly when he receives the first of three packages containing a detailed map of his winery and an ominous threat: some of the vines have been compromised. The race is on as Villaine receive more menacing missives, and the police attempt to head off the extortionist before centuries-old vines are irrevocably damaged. Potter does a terrific job of maintaining the story's tension without losing his narrative thread. Digressions on the wine market and various viticultural techniques, as well as profiles of the police officers and the criminal they pursued, give the story depth and context. Even the most devout teetotaler will have a hard time putting this one down.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Shadows in the vineyard
All things being equal, if I'm going to drink a glass of wine I prefer it to be from Burgundy.the author does a wonderful job of not only explaining why Wines from Burgundy are exceptional but putting it in historical perspective.i highly recommend this book.
Shadows in the Vineyard
A superb book and a must read for any lover of wine and or history. Maximillian Potter weaves the events surrounding the strange case that threatened to destroy Romanee Conti and the history of Burgundy masterfully. This is perhaps one of the best books ever written on wine.