Mom called. "Did you see the Sunday Magazine? There's a story on Bordeaux. Why didn't you write the story?" God love her. "Well," Ethel, I said, "I'm not the only wine writer in the States and anyway, there's no story there." The writer, Lewine, documented last years news about the fall of the latest St. Emilion Classifications. Didn't they run the idea by Eric Asimov first? The right bank classifications are meaningless. Losing the stamp might make a difference when the wines are stacked in the supermarket in France and seekers of generic bordeaux want to differentiate one bottle of plonk from the next, but in in the States no one cares and really, if it's not Cheval Blanc (haven't tasted a recent vintage to comment),or some sought after hyperbolic and superfluous garagiste wine, most drinkers just don't look at the who's who of merlot. There are plenty of small producers, true artisans who would never put their hat in the ring to be assessed for the tribunal's wine judgement. What as particularly annoying here is that the author seemed to have no idea how Bordeaux works or what it means to be an artisan vs. a brand. The writing was flashy. But the argument of the winemaker's plight didn't measure up to any real life drama, not even a tempest in a teapot. This is always a problem when people who don't know about wine and wine culture write about wine. Lewine's article. Today, Decanter just posted a much more newsworthy story: the TTB is currently investigating potential fraud because six wines that were at first promoted to the meaningless Grand Cru Classe in 2006, ( but were demoted because of the lawsuit which succeeded in returning to the classifications of 1996) have released wines with the Grand Cru Classe on their label. Fraud? I find this kind of fraud quite amusing. This is not grape fraud like in the recent Brunello scandal. This is not about label of vintage swapping. This is about the fraudulent use of a meaningless stamp of approval, as useful as let's, see, a California Cabernet that has the U.C. Davis stamp of quality. Amusing. Yes. And then comes along Robin Goldstein, author of The Wine Trials, who did some fancy and amusing footwork. He just posted a ballsy expos�e on those awards of excellence the Spec hands out to restaurants that have wine lists up to the Wine Spects high standards. Goldstein spoofed up a restaurant, created a reserve list that he cherry picked from a collection of mostly low scoring Spectator wines. The list is overpriced and underbalanced sprouting germs like the AMARONE CLASSICO �LA FABRISERIA� 1998 (Veneto) Tedeschi for 185,00 �. But the point? He paid money and got himself a Wine Spec badge of honor. read about it here.