In this too-steamy month’s round up of non-drinkable wine product samples, I’ve got two items to highlight that I can recommend without nary a reservation; and for me, when it comes to putting wine products to the test, that’s the wine scribe’s equivalent of a tall, cold glass of Soave on a hot Summer’s day.
First up is one of the Wall Mounted Wine Racks by Ultra Wine Racks (about $75); they sent me the 3ft x 1 (wine bottle) deep version, but there are several configurations from which you can choose (though the options that are multiple bottles “deep” are probably best employed in retail, restaurant, or wine cellar/storage spaces).
The bottom line is that these mostly-metal wall-mounted puppies are well-made, sturdy, and look great once installed (note that the larger you go on these racks, the more important it will be to find a stud on which to mount them… holy crap, that whole sentence fragment sounds mildly, obnoxiously sexual, doesn’t it?). Installation is relatively straightforward, but will definitely require a level, and will go much faster if you have a second person (ask me how I know) to help stabilize the racks when positioning them for the mounts, etc.
What I liked most about the Ultra Wine Rack kit was that, with the exceptions of a drill and a screwdriver, it comes with everything that you need to install and maintain it, including anchors, spare parts, and even a screwdriver drill bit, just in case. If you’re in the market for combining wine storage with some crowing/showing-off of special bottles as a side benefit, then you should take a serious look at these…
Second, and finally, even though I’ve yet to finish it, I can highly recommend veteran author Peter Hellman’s latest, In Vino Duplicitas: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Forger Extraordinaire (about $26), a detailed account of the Rudy Kurniawan wine fraud scandal.
Kurniawan’s tale is a fascinating one in the otherwise a-bit-too-stuffily-boring world of fine wine; not only because Kurniawan’s fraud shook the fine wine and auction biz to their very cores, but also because the bildungsroman of Kurniawan himself is like a glimpse into both the personal sociopathy of a criminal, and the societal sociopathy that often allows such criminals to initially flourish.
Aside from a sort of forced, affected props call out to Wine Spectator in the forward, In Vino Duplicitas is written with an easy but well-crafted prose, that occasionally seems to get a bit tangential but ultimately does a masterful job in explaining relatively arcane wine concepts and history in non-insider terms.
Hellman succeeds here in getting across not just the facts about the strangest fraud case in the modern history of fine wine, but also in getting inside the dysfunctional heads of most of the major players involved, and in helping the reader get beyond the “what” and “how” and making him/her feel the “why” behind the ripple-effect impacts that Kurniawan left in his wake.