Sunday, August 24, 2008

When self-proclaimed "gods" fall in the vineyard

Normally, I don't sign in twice in one day to update Blushing Hostess but the recent clamoring of Wine Spectator Magazine to defend itself has me back here shaking my head. A person sent WS the required $250. application fee to be considered for WS's restaurant wine cellar "Award of Excellence", the name and contact information of a fake restaurant in Milan, and its equally as fictional wine list (consisting largely of bottles WS had themselves declared undrinkable). What do you know, the non-existent place received an Award of Excellence. The story is recounted on his website.

Sadly, proving how very not open to criticism and admission of their significant failure they are, WS has posted a response here along with only comments which support WS's defense and not the remarks of any of their stunned and disgruntled subscribers. There is no road for WS to maintain their integrity now (no matter how much crying, utensil banging, and foot stomping they do), nor any hope of openness: the refuse to print any detracting comments about their obvious ability to be bought (and willingness to give their "Award of Excellence" away based on a Google search and an answering machine message which they consider enough of a checking process), nor finally any reason to keep reading them. Their defense is feeble-minded and accusatory when, as a long ago reader who suspected this was the case all along, it should have been a mea culpa and a vow to use the event as a learning experience from which to increase their believability. It would have been great to see WS take the high road, manage a stitch of elegance, or even go silently away. But their response is graceless, ill-concieved, and not worth reading. Wine Spectator has demonstrated only that they are a group of self-aggrandizing petulant four-year-olds from whom the wine glasses should be removed.

Wine is an experience. If you feel no experience is a poor one and all will help you to grow, you might discover you enjoy something the wine gods did not. Read a book like the Wine Bible, then set out on your own to try as many as you can. It will mean more than the recommendation of a bought-off mag with an unparalelled sense of their own importance. Then, you'll be an individual, beholden to no one and nothing. If only Wine Spectator could say the same.

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