He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine, and reported the following:
The Billionaire’s Vinegar tells the true story of the longest-running mystery in the modern wine world: the origin of a famous cache of extremely rare wine known as the Jefferson bottles. Supposedly discovered in a bricked-up cellar in Paris in the mid-1980s, they were said to have belonged to Thomas Jefferson before being lost for 200 years. The story embraces an international cast of larger-than-life characters, a subterranean laboratory where cutting-edge technology is used to date wine (think of it as CSI: Bordeaux), and the eccentric world of the very rich and wine-obsessed. Page 99 does contain many of the book’s essential elements: from pop-science narration of how wine ages and why it can improve over time, to a bit of the history of Thomas Jefferson’s well-documented connoisseurship, to the ratcheting up of the 21st-century mystery at the heart of the book, which ultimately leads to a far-flung investigation by ex-FBI and Scotland Yard agents. And three of the story’s principal characters appear on the page: Kip Forbes, the publishing heir who bought one of the bottles for a record-setting price ($156,000!); Michael Broadbent, the bicycle-riding English auctioneer who vouched for the bottles’ provenance; and Hardy Rodenstock, the shadowy German dealer who “found” the bottles. Out of curiosity, I looked to see whether I could make the “representative-page” case just as well for 98 or 100, and I actually could not. So, for this book at least, the test passes.Read an excerpt from The Billionaire’s Vinegar, and learn more about the book and author at Benjamin Wallace's website.