Tuesday, August 26, 2008

" 'Hoax' on the Wine Spectator" [Mac McCarthy]

So did you see the short piece in the Wine section of the Chron Aug 22/08? " 'Hoax' on the Wine Spectator" is the hed. Seems some guy invented a fake restaurant, Osteria L'Intrepido, supposedly in Milan, and submitted its fake wine list to the WS, along with his obligatory $250 fee, and the WS promptly awarded him one of their (apparently widely distributed) Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.

The magazine says they checked and found a phone with an answering machine (that he had set up) and (apparently fake) online posts on Chowhound, so they thought it was a real restaurant - and anyway, they were rating the quality of the wine list, not the service or food or anything....

Problem with that excuse is that the prankster, one Robin Goldstein, included on the list of 150 Italian wines a "reserve" list that included 15 wines that had previusly been 'savaged' by the WS critics - including a 1990 GD Vajra Barolo that got a nearly record low score of 64 points....

The Chron author, Jon Bonne, goes on to point out the conflict of interest: "At $250 apiece, the 4,128 restaurants in the 2008 list would have grossed more than $1 million" for the magazine. "The program remains a major income source for the magazine's publisher, M. Shanken COmmunications," he notes. "Two-thirds of all submissions win an award."

Har har.

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