I Frickin' LOVE this: Made-up restaurant wins Wine Spectator award

Taking a veering left turn from our usual take on the world of whisky, and beating up, (once again) on the concept of ratings – especially in the wine world – I submit for your approval a fantastic piece (courtesy of Dr. Vino)*.

The piece, entitled What does it take to get a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence? details how Robin Goldstein,  (author of a new book called The Wine Trials)  submitted his restaurant Osteria L’Intrepido for a Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” – which he was granted.

Despite the fact that the menu was average, the wine list consisted of wines which were given low ratings by Wine Spectator AND the restaurant doesn’t exist.

I submitted the fee ($250), a cover letter, a copy of the restaurant’s menu (a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes), and a wine list.Osteria L’Intrepido won the Award of Excellence, as published in print in the August 2008 issue of Wine Spectator.

It’s troubling, of course, that a restaurant that doesn’t exist could win an Award of Excellence. But it’s also troubling that the award doesn’t seem to be particularly tied to the quality of the wine list, even by Wine Spectator’s own standards. Although the main wine list that I submitted was made up of fairly standard

Italian-focused selections, Osteria L’Intrepido’s “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past 20 years.

The “reserve list” that submitted appears in its entirety on the site.

For other rants on ratings and wine magazines:


*And Dr. Vino, Tyler Coleman, has his own book out: Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink

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Comment (1)

  1. MaltManMike

    How perfect is that? What a scam these guys are running. Great story and good job to Dr. Vino for finding the truth.

    Mike.

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