The most memorable wine-related event of 2008 also was the most forgettable — not to mention embarrassing.
It involved Wine Spectator magazine presenting an award of excellence to Osteria L’Intrepido, a restaurant in Milan, Italy.
Only one problem: The restaurant does not exist.
Even worse: The “restaurant’s” faux “wine list” included a 1993 Amarone Classico Gioe Sofia — a bottling that the magazine said was reminiscent of ‘paint thinner and nail varnish.”
The entry form for the non-existent restaurant was submitted — and the hoax was perpetrated –by author and wine critic Robin Goldstein, who even created a Web site for the bogus eatery.
Goldstein said his goal was to call into question the level of scrutiny employed by various wine and food competitions and ratings. Wine Spectator Executive Editor Thomas Matthews called Goldstein’s prank a “publicity-seeking scam.”
Further investigation revealed that of the nearly 4,500 restaurants that submitted applications for Wine Spectator awards last year — and paid a $250 entry fee to do so — only 319 did not win some sort of award.
Unfortunately for the magazine, Osteria L’Intrepido was not one of the 319.