The Assassin in the Vineyard
February 13, 2015 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Who would poison the vines of La Romanée-Conti, the tiny, centuries-old vineyard that produces what most agree is Burgundy’s finest, rarest, and most expensive wine?

NPR interviews Maximillian Potter: Plot To Poison Famed French Wine Makes For Gripping (Pinot) Noir

A new book published in the US tells the “true story” of the 2010 attempt to extort money from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti by poisoning its vines and the case’s tragic conclusion.
Despite describing the story of the actual crime as “gripping”, Business Insider did note that the “creative licence” Potter has taken with the actions and inner thoughts of the people in his book, “make it hard to tell where Mr Potter’s reporting ends and his imagination takes over”.
Amazing grapes: A story of extortion and $10,000 bottles of wine
And unfortunately for the riveted reader, the gripping part of the book’s narrative ends there. In a matter of minutes the French police swarm over the extortionist, a former grape-grower down on his luck, and he winds up committing suicide while awaiting trial. No more vines are poisoned, and the profits at DRC, the oenophile’s ultimate status symbol, grow healthier than ever. Less than half the book actually addresses this amateurish crime.
posted by the man of twists and turns (21 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Who would poison the vines of La Romanée-Conti, the tiny, centuries-old vineyard that produces what most agree is Burgundy’s finest, rarest, and most expensive wine?

The producers of Burgundy's second finest, rarest, and most expensive wine, duh.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:21 AM on February 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


See, that's probably why I'm not in the wine police. But I was on the right track!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:22 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The wine police don't get much done after lunch.
posted by colie at 11:28 AM on February 13, 2015 [43 favorites]


No, they don't, but the nap afterwards is delightful and necessary.
posted by Kitteh at 11:30 AM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Apparently they took a bite of abalone and killed themselves.
posted by dr_dank at 11:39 AM on February 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Not only is this a fruitful source for whiney puns, but it's the great mystery story.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:44 AM on February 13, 2015


Arrg. Long form articles without a print button will be the death of me. Cut/copy/paste word .doc.

So irritating.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:47 AM on February 13, 2015


(Where in the World is) Carmen Sangiovese?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:52 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm just disappointed this doesn't happen more often to high end brands.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:03 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey! Be the change you want to see in the world, my friend!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:10 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, Clouseau, where are you when we need you?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:55 PM on February 13, 2015


Who? I dunno...the 99%?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:56 PM on February 13, 2015


I'm just disappointed this doesn't happen more often to high end brands.

Indeed. Can we figure out how to poison a diamond mine?
posted by Wolfdog at 1:09 PM on February 13, 2015


Drop tons of cubic zirconiums from a helicopter?
posted by ian1977 at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Man, that article just goes on and on and on. Did someone in fact poison that vineyard?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:34 PM on February 13, 2015


Aw, I tried to read that book and found it so badly written I couldn't get through it. I am still totally intrigued by the idea of wine crime though.
posted by ferret branca at 1:47 PM on February 13, 2015


Waiting for the sequel, Wine Crime on the Rhine (Whine Harder).

I also found the style of writing in that article to be excessively circuitous, just the sort of thing that I'd never be able to follow after a glass or two.
posted by jamaro at 2:02 PM on February 13, 2015


A few weeks ago the police recovered most of the wine that was stolen from the French Laundry on Christmas day.

The thieves had specifically taken all the bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Screaming Eagle (a pricey Napa cabernet).
posted by w0mbat at 2:15 PM on February 13, 2015


You know, if Islamic fundamentalists truly wanted to trigger mass prosecution of Muslims in France, they'd do something like this. (1) It's much easier to get away with than other kinds of terrorism (2) It's destroying something which is haram- alcohol (3) It's about as big as a salvo of cultural warfare as you could launch.

I guess we're slightly lucky that the forces of ISIS have a 'warrior' and not a 'griefer' mentality. Because if they truly fought to provoke, well.... Algerian war of Independence all over again.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 7:38 PM on February 13, 2015


Wow, Vanity Fair editors need to work harder. Great story, but that primary link article needs an editor.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:50 PM on February 13, 2015


I liked the description of the terrain, and the gift of shared, intimate vision of the place. In this brave new world of the new, new, new we inhabit, oceans full of garbage and all, the ideal of carefully nurtured land, and ancient veniculture soothes me. The suggestion of linking this culture with terrorism, gives me the creeps. What is the purpose of that comment?
posted by Oyéah at 10:04 AM on February 14, 2015


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