Granted, when Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker began their cigar-chompin’ shitstorm in 1932, the dessert wine industry had not really taken hold in the Midwest. So, they are to be forgiven for targeting banks and gas stations rather than hundred-point châteaux on the Garonne, which, in all fairness, would have been five thousand miles away from their comfort zone.
These days, however, our globe has shrunk. Distance is less of a concern to such theatrical thieves and thick-headed thugs. And so, when person or persons unknown broke into the warehouse of Château d’Yquem last Sunday and stole 380 bottles of prestigious, overpriced wine, it is quite possible that the crooks shared some DNA with the notorious Texas lovebirds.
Why would I suggest such a far-fetched theory? Because, like the cretinous couple who terrorized law enforcement during the Great Depression, whoever ganked Graves’ grapey goodies were, apparently, not the sharpest shivs in the rucksack.
Let’s first take a respectful glance at the inbred, dyed-in-wool, redneck stupidity of Bonnie ‘There’s Page Numbers On Our Toilet Paper’ Parker and Clyde ‘We Own Five Stuffed Possums’ Barrow:
- In 1933, police still relied on sketches to track down public enemies. No need in this case, as B&C left a bunch of photographs of themselves in an abandoned Missouri hide-out—including the famous one of Bonnie smoking a stogie.
- On January 6, 1933, the Barrow gang wandered into a trap that had been set for another criminal. They only escaped after blowing away the deputy sheriff, turning a charge of car theft into one of capital murder.
- On April 15 of that same year, Barrow accidentally fired his Browning Automatic while cleaning it, alerting police, who sent a five-man team to apprehend them. With more experience in shoot-outs than the cops, Clyde killed two of them, and the gang escaped—leaving behind a camera filled with updated photos.
- On June 10, 1933, Barrow ignored a ‘bridge out’ sign and flipped the gang’s getaway car into a ravine where it burst into flames, causing such severe burns to old ‘Flake ‘n’ Bake’ Bonnie’s left leg that she hopped or was carried until the day she died.
- Speaking of the day she died (May 23, 1934), even knowing that they were the subject of a national manhunt, they drove around in broad daylight and directly to the location where the posse suspected they’d be heading: A family reunion in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Bonnie was shot twenty-six times; Clyde, seventeen.
Now, Compare and Contrast…
On June 10, 2013, thieves broke into the fabled Premier Cru Supérieur Château d’Yquem, having forgotten to disable the alarm system. The Police Municipale were alerted immediately, and claim that the nectar noobs only escaped by seconds—and with a lot less loot than you assume they wanted considering that they only wound up with 32 cases of half-bottles: Pretty piss-poor pickings with 65,000 bottles (5417 cases) having been produced.
That’s right, they stole 380 half-bottles; .375 ml. per.
Not being a seasoned criminal, but yet possessed of a criminal mindset, I would imagine that were I to break into the only Superior First Growth white wine estate in Bordeaux, my ‘going-in’ plan would be to steal full bottles (right after I ripped the Groupe Spécial Mobile out of main alarm panel), just as, if I was robbing a bank, I would take the twenties, fifties and hundreds before I took the ones and fives. Likewise, if I burglarized Home Depot I’d go for the Hilti SID 18-volt Impact Drivers before the drywall screws. At Payless Shoes? Salvatore Ferragamo python-skin loafers first, shoe horns second.
And, thinking out loud, I would probably have gone for a better vintage too. Figure that 2010 was an average-to-good harvest, but nothing to write home about. And whereas these bottles of wine may sell for around $170 (according to www.vinopedia.com), had the vino villains opted to yoink full .750s from 2009, they’d have had bottles worth in excess of $900 each. Total take, therefore, was around $65 k when it could have been nearly half a million.
Well, there is book smart and street smart, but apparently there is also Sauternes smart, and Bon Nuit & Claude were, evidently, not the ripest grapes in the harvest basket. The only way these French felons will not be popped is if the entire gendarmerie turns out to be cut from Inspector Clouseau cloth.
In which case, they are probably discussing the jack over a half-bottle of black market 2010 d’Yquem as we speak. Potentially leading to the following hilarity:
“Winkey?? Clouseau, you just said winkey!!”
“Yes, to open ze bottle of win, s’il vous plaît? Ze Le Creuset win key.”