Spilled Wine Leaves Bitter Taste

Talk about sour grapes. A wine merchant showing off a rare bottle of 1787 Chateau Margaux once owned by Thomas Jefferson accidently bumped it against a serving tray and watched in horror as $500,000 worth of wine dribbled down his leg. Bill Sokolin, who was asking $519,000 for the 202-year-old bottle, brought it to the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan to show to a group of oenophiles at a wine tasting when the costly accident occurred. “It was a disaster. Thank God it was broken by me and not anyone else,” said Sokolin, who obtained the bottle in October on consignment from the British wine firm of Whithams. Ordinarily, a 1787 Margaux would be worth around $35,000, Sokolin said, but because the bottle bore Jefferson’s name, "$500,000 would be too cheap.” About 80% of the Margaux was lost, but Sokolin was able to salvage some of the wine. “It tasted like it still had wine taste, but not very good,” he said.

--James Richardson savored his first full day of freedom after spending 21 years behind bars for the poisoning deaths of his seven children. “It’s a pleasure to walk on the beach, see the sunlight, picking up sand and dirt, kicking my feet in the water. I’ve never felt that in 21 years,” said the 53-year-old former orange picker, whose time behind bars included a harrowing stay on Death Row. A judge in Arcadia, Fla., ruled that Richardson’s 1968 trial was tainted by prosecutorial misconduct and perjured testimony. The state has 10 days to order a retrial. Richardson’s lawyers and special prosecutor Janet Reno presented testimony pointing to baby-sitter Betsy Reese as a prime suspect. Reese, 67, is in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Two nurses at the home filed affidavits last year that she confessed to poisoning the children, ranging in age from 2 to 8. The children died Oct. 25, 1967, hours after eating a lunch tainted with insecticide. Richardson and his wife, Annie Mae, were working in a citrus grove eight miles away when the baby-sitter served the lunch. Richardson insisted he harbors no bitterness toward anyone. “I don’t have no hate in my heart,” he said.

--Albert Gore III, 6, son of one-time presidential candidate Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.), went home in a full body cast three weeks after being hit by a car. The boy suffered a broken rib, fractures of the thigh bone, a ruptured spleen, bruised lung and a concussion when he let go of his father’s hand and ran into the path of a car after attending the Baltimore Orioles’ opening game April 3. He will be in the body cast for another three weeks.