This wine expert became famous last summer after winning a prestigious award with the wine menu of a fictitious restaurant
US journalist and blogger, Robin Goldstein, will talk about his controversial ideas at the 5th National Wine Fair, FENAVIN 2009, which will be held between May 5th and 7th at the Ciudad Real Exhibition Center.
Goldstein's name became known throughout the world of wine in 2008 after winning an Award of Excellence that the prestigious magazine Wine Spectator gives to the best restaurant wine lists.
Goldstein registered the Reserve Wine List of the Milanese restaurant Osteria L'Intrepido for the competition. This list was principally made up of Italian wines that had received low marks in the Wine Spectator in recent years. As he says: "the interesting thing is not that the list apparently received such little attention. The main point is that the restaurant didn't even exist. There is no restaurant in Milan called Osteria L'Intrepido." The conclusion is devastating: "it is very likely that this has not been the first wine list presented for the award that did not exactly reflect the contents of a restaurant's wine cellar."
This raises the prospect that critics are not impartial judges of quality. Goldstein maintains that experts and competitions really act as advertising tools that have little or nothing to do with a wine's true quality. "The majority of the specialist magazines publish full-page adverts of the same wines they assess and mark a few pages later on, and they accept advertising from restaurants that are competing for awards organized by that same publication." According to Goldstein, the result of all this is that the consumer is defenseless, and furthermore that the different wines' prices do not reflect the market's reality. Summing up the situation, he states that "the critics are there to sell; the wine criticism business is nothing more than a kind of advertising."
When making such a statement, Goldstein is not only considering his "Osteria L'Intrepido" hoax. In fact, he has carried out in-depth research in a number of countries, which shows that in blind tastings, experts do not necessarily mark expensive wines higher than cheap wines. He states that there is scientific evidence indicating that the perception of both experts and novices is involuntarily influenced by the expectation that the bottle to be tasted contains an expensive wine.
The double blind tasting, "a unique and exclusive method for assessing a wine correctly"
These are the reasons why Goldstein proposes a new way of assessing wines. This is the Honest Wine Movement, which proposes the double blind tasting as a unique and exclusive method for correct assessment. This means that the taster will have no previous knowledge of any information about the wine, not even the region or the year. This means that the resulting mark will be honest, and a fair market price can be set.
Robin Goldstein will publicly defend his controversial ideas at FENAVIN 2009 before the most high profile Spanish wine producers and critics. This debate will certainly be interesting.