Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wine trials

Osteria L'Intrepido di Milano reports: [edited]

My name is Robin Goldstein, and I’m the author of a new book called The Wine Trials. Lately, I’ve become curious about how Wine Spectator magazine determines its 'Awards of Excellence' for the world’s best wine restaurants.

As part of the research for an academic paper I’m currently working on about standards for wine awards, I submitted an application for a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

I named the restaurant “Osteria L’Intrepido”, I submitted the fee, 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. (Not surprisingly, the Osteria’s listing has been removed from Wine Spectator’s website since I posted this.) I presented this result at the meeting of the American Association of Wine Economists in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, August 15.

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 supposed restaurant’s “reserve wine list,” even by Wine Spectator’s own standards.

Although the main wine list that I submitted was a perfectly decent selection from around Italy meeting the magazine’s numerical criteria, Osteria L’Intrepido’s “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among some of the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past 20 years.

1 comment:

BJMonkey said...

Yeah, my imaginary restaurant almost won that...
But I told them it was a real one, so I didn't get it :(