Why are we so fascinated by all those 'Best of...' lists that get published regularly?
The wine trade in particular is overrun by these synthetic challenges, and there is no room here to name even a tenth of those that are celebrated with monotonous frequency.
A miniscule number are valid, eg. the Bacchus Awards and the International Wine Challenge. However, these are the tip of the iceberg, and they have to fight for survival against the flotsam and jetsam of prodigious triviality.
'The World's Ten Best Wines' contest, celebrated in the USA, is outrageously typical of the worst: the first seven places are occupied by American products, the others being Italian, with not a Pingus or a Vega Sicilia in sight.
Another headline in the media refers to 'The Best Sommelier in the World'.
This year 68 candidates were whittled down to three finalists, the winner being a Latvian, Raimonds Tomsons.
This gentleman may indeed be the world's preeminent sommelier, but what about the other brilliant professionals working in top and not so top restaurants from Bangkok to Reykjavik?
They did not enter the contest of course, so are invisible, even though they may be better at their job than Tomsons.
Some of these meaningless rankings cannot be argued with. For example, the world's biggest diamond is a matter of record, as is the most expensive hotel room or the oldest parrot, but what about the biggest paella, the best bratwurst, the finest electric shaver, etc? These last are fruits of someone's ingenuity, not grounded in fact, and therefore not in the least significant.
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