My heartiest congratulations go to the Osteria L’Intrepido di Milano for being shortlisted by Wine Spectator magazine as worthy of it’s Award of Excellence. The magazine (read by over two million people) has run it’s Award of Excellence since 1981 to highlight the best restaurant wine lists.
What Wine Spectator magazine didn’t know is that the wine list of the restaurant is a special reserve wine list comprised entirely of wines they have given bad reviews over the years. The 1988 Amarone Classico La Fabriseria was described by the magazine as smelling “like bug spray” previously yet they seemed to enjoy it at this restaurant. Likewise, the 1993 Amarone Classico Gioe was slated with the description “Too much like paint thinner and nail varnish” when it was first encountered by the experts on the magazine staff. How surprising that a wine list comprised entirely of wines that have been so heavily criticised before are served in a restaurant suddenly shortlisted to win an award for it’s wine list by those same critiques. It’s almost as if the magazine writers have never visited the restaurant – a claim I’m sure they’d argue against by talking about differing tastes.
What they can’t argue against is the fact that the Osteria L’Intrepido di Milano doesn’t actually exist. The fake restaurant was invented by wine reviewer and author Robin Goldstein, who created the story of it’s existence to highlight the lack of ethics or authenticity in the awards given to many foods and drinks and the restaurants that serve them. He created a fake website for the restaurant, submitted fake reviews on a culinary website (Chowhound), and submitted the restaurant as an entry to the magazine along with a sample menu, a covering letter and a copy of the wine list.
Thomas Matthews, the executive editor of Wine Spectator, had the following to say about this:
It is sad that an unscrupulous person can attack a publication that has earned it’s reputation for integrity over the past thirty two years.
An interesting excuse, with the barest hint of bullshit and an aftertaste of covering one’s own ass…