(Roughly) Daily

Oaky, with subtle fruit tones… and a certain chimeral character…

What does it take to get a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for a restaurant’s wine list?…  amusingly, neither a sterling selection nor even a real restaurant.

In the course of his academic research, Robin Goldstein (author of The Wine Trials) PhotoShopped a menu and wine list for an imaginary restaurant, then sent them– with a $250 fee– to Wine Spectator…  which honored his establishment with its Award of Excellence (in the August 2008 print issue and online).  Goldstein went public with the experiment in a paper he presented on August 15 at an economics conference; not surprisingly, Wine Spectator has removed the award from its site (though the screen shot above is available on Goldstein’s, via the link at the top of this note).  Goldstein observes:

The main wine list that I submitted was a perfectly decent selection from around Italy that met the magazine’s basic criteria (about 250 wines, including whites, reds, and sparkling wines–some of which scored well in WS). However, Osteria L’Intrepido’s [Goldstein’s fantasy eatery’s] high-priced “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among some of the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past few decades.

While it’s interesting that the reserve list would receive such seemingly little scrutiny, the central point is that the wine cellar doesn’t actually exist. And while Osteria L’Intrepido may be the first to win an Award of Excellence for an imaginary restaurant, it’s unlikely that it was the first submission that didn’t accurately reflect the contents of a restaurant’s wine cellar.

As we emptors caveat, we might recall that it was on this date in 1609 that Galileo presented his new 30X telescope to the Senate of Venice.  He used it, starting the very next month, to make the observations of Venus– he saw it go through a full set of phases like those of the moon– that supported (even if it didn’t prove) Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the solar system… and effectively disproved the Ptolemaic geocentric model… it was, of course, precisely this heliocentrism that later landed Galileo in trouble with the Church.

Cristiano Banti’s 1857 painting of Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition

Written by LW

August 25, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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