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That is a great story, but not as scandalous as made out to be. The faux restaurant didn't "win" anything, merely qualified at Wine Spectator's entry-level qualification. And he paid $250 for it. There were only about 15 wines on his lengthy faux list that were rated poorly. And WS did do some vetting in an attempt to legitimize the restaurant. How much are they supposed to do for the entry-level recognition? That's something for debate, but it would mean major resources to research intensely the thousands of wanna-bes at that basic level. Goldstein did good work, but he did carefully plan the ruse, so far as fake restaurant "reviews." Does that excuse WS? No. They need to go a step further, obviously. In the end, everyone takes these "awards" with a grain of salt. Last I checked, La Belle Vie wasn't on the WS listing (and they certainly don't need to be), but restaurants that are striving for reputations do like the awards for the bit of recognition it affords and the plaque on the wall. All will embellish a bit when they cut the check to WS. But those wanting the higher "awards" do undergo more scrutiny. But enough about wine: to Barley John's!


Points taken, but those 16 wines make up the entire reserve list, and WS didn't try and contact the restaurant at all until after it was selected as a winner, and only then to sell ad space (nice sales tactic). I realize a few thousand restaurants all over the world also win varying levels of this award--the equivalent of getting a "Best Of" sticker from METRO, the local magazine getting known for doing half-diligence and doling out awards to closed establishments--but there was zero diligence on the part of the magazine; a huge, embarrassing disservice to their readers. Just Google "osteria l'intrepido" and see how many PR release-type websites have already posted the "news" about Milano's new, award-winning restaurant. Most of us know not to trust everything we read on the internet (or do we?) but such a widely read, go-to magazine like WS should be ashamed and stop trying to defend itself against the big mean critic who created the ruse in about 3 hours. It was their choice to give this award to a fake restaurant. But yeah, to paraphrase a commenter on another thread, further proof that all one needs to receive an award from Wine Spectator and other magazines like it is to write a check.


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