Charlie Perry, late of the LA Times and reknowned food scholar, alerts us to this fascinating tale of fakery:
Robin Goldstein, a British wine and food writer, bamboozled The Wine Spectator into giving his made-up bistro, Osteria L'Intrepido di Milano, their Award of Excellence, which recognizes places with impressive wine lists. He created a website, paid the entry fee, and even went so far as to review his creation on Chowhound, a touch Perry found especially admirably inventive (of course, Chowhound deleted them.) We like that the wine director is one Augusto Crazia.
Goldstein claims it's all in the name of academic reseach. Of course, the best part was his creation of a lengthy wine list--featuring vintages that the Spectator had described as "smelling of bug spray" and as having "Just too much paint thinner and nail varnish character."
Wine Spectator was not amused, but seems to miss the point that they gave an award to a place that never existed, which raises the question, "Has this happened before?" In the trade, the WS award is considered to be handed out to anyone with the entrance fee.
Here in Los Angeles, we've got our own fake bistro--Quinoa.