Pictured above in a brief break during a hard day of wine tasting recently at his HQ in Southern Tuscany is James Suckling, the CEO, guiding spirit and main author of www.JamesSuckling.com, one of the most important internet publications about wine in the world. I point this out, because there are still a good number of wine fans out there who’ve heard of Suckling, but are not aware of his influence in Asia, America, Europe and beyond. James gives every wine he tastes a score on the 100 points scale, but as you can he see from the photograph he’s a very different guy to Robert Parker.
The reason that I’m introducing him to you today is that yesterday the first of four stories by me about the dry white 2015 GGs from the members of Germany’s elite VDP (Verband deutsche Prädikatsweingüter) was published on James’s website. It focuses on Rieslings from the Mosel and the Nahe, the best of which are sensational dry whites that you should definitely try if you like elegant and complex dry whites. Beyond announcing the appearance of this report I have to let you know that on September 1st I became James Suckling’s correspondent for wines of the German-speaking world (i.e. Germany, Austria and Alsace), and will also write about some other subjects for him. I am very optimistic that this is the beginning of a long and fulfilling association between James and I.
The reason I’m so convinced about that is that I’ve known James Suckling since the fall of 1986 when we met at a wine auction in the Rheingau and hit it off right away. For ten years we collaborated until our paths amicably parted again in 1996. I was then a freelance contributor to Wine Spectator where he was the senior editor for Europe. When I visited James a few weeks back we spent two days tasting together and were both rather amazed how closely our views of more than a hundred wines lined up. (Alsace whites are familiar territory for me, but Sicilian whites certainly aren’t and the convergence of views and scores was clear there as well.) This is because we share a deep-seated belief that wines is there for drinking so balance is more important that sheer power and intensity.
My story about the 2015 GGs of the Mosel and Nahe includes tasting notes for 39 wines from the former region and 24 from the latter. It doesn’t report on all the wines of this category produced in those regions in 2015, but 63 tasting notes is a lot to digest, and we felt this is about the limit a single story can successfully carry. You will have to take out a premium subscription to read this story now, but I make no apologies for earning a living, neither does James. Creating this kind of content demands a lot of experience, and a serious investment of time and effort. Those things cannot be offered for free, and anyone who claims they can be should be treated with skepticism.
Please note that the less comprehensive type of material that appears here at www.stuartpigott.com will continue to be available for free. However, the addition of advertising to this site is under review, because currently it costs me money to run and generates no income whatsoever. That policy has only been possible, because I had well paying employers and the losses were written off as the largest item of my publicity budget.
I am convinced that these facts in no way obstruct or diminish the enjoyment and appreciation of wine, indeed the fact that journalists like James Suckling and I have to think about what the wines we report on (because also we can’t afford everything we want) strikes me as a positive thing. Let’s get excited about wine, but also be critical and realistic! I am sure that this is the right basis for good wine journalism and that’s the spirit behind my work both on this blog and www.JamesSuckling.com. WATCH THESE SPACES!