Leading article: In your dreams

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The Independent Online

Let's hear it for the Osteria l'Intrepido, which does not grace the Via Filippetti and is not in Milan, but exists rather in the mind's eye of a certain Robin Goldstein, and on a website he created to test that ultra-serious and self-regarding American magazine, Wine Spectator. L'Intrepido, which advertised a fashionable "foodie" menu and a wine list stuffed with very expensive bottles painstakingly selected by Mr Goldstein from the Wine Spectator's very own worst reviews, was honoured with one of the magazine's Awards of Excellence.

His purpose was to expose what he suspected was the questionable reliability of such accolades, and how right he turned out to be. In defending its procedures, the magazine said it had done its best to verify the facts, phoning, Googling, and reading (spoof) reviews. Everything, in fact, except doing what the hungry and thirsty customer might reasonably expect: visiting the place and sampling its wares. The magazine's chastening should alert not just the Wine Spectator, but the punters. If it looks and sounds too outrageously expensive to be true, it probably is.