Wine Spectator gets pranked

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What does it take to win Wine Spectator magazine's Award of Excellence? Not much, apparently. Just ask prankish wine writer Robin Goldstein, author of the book The Wine Trials:

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” (a play on the name of a restaurant guide series that I founded, Fearless Critic). I submitted the fee ($250), 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 since been removed from Wine Spectator’s website.)

Something to keep in mind next time you see a Wine Spectator -- or any other -- award prominently displayed in a restaurant vestibule.

(*Robin's fake menu seems to be a mishmash of Italian hilarity -- the first item is "Affettato misto di salumi nostrani 'L’Intrepido'." Can someone translate the rest?)

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