Wine expert James Suckling charms the crowd at this year’s Great Wines of Italy in Bangkok event
This past weekend the folks at JamesSuckling.com presented the 3rd edition of the Great Wines of Italy in Bangkok event. It has become the region’s largest premium wine event, and this year featured more than 80 prestigious Italian brands, as well as hand-picked selections from several premium boutique wineries. All wineries represented have reached top scores of 90 points and abov e by Hong Kong-based wine expert James Suckling, who tasted more than 3,000 wines in order to assemble this definitive list. Nice work, if you can get it!
The show itself took over the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, which was filled on the evening of Friday December 9th, 2016, with more than 1,000 wine lovers—a sell-out crowd—in attendance. The demand for tickets was so huge that hundreds of thirsty hopefuls clamouring for last minute entry had to be turned away.
Inside the ballroom a lavish display awaited the stylish and sophisticated crowd (a pleasant mix of Thais and non-Thais alike). In the center of the room four wine serving areas had been arranged—delineated by style and region—with about 20 vendors at each. Meanwhile, on either side of the main entrance, a selection of European cheeses, breads, cured meats and antipasti was on hand to make sure no one was drinking on an empty stomach. Finally, at the far end of the room on the raised stage, James’s pal Surahn Sidu (Australian recording artist, formerly of Empire of the Sun), acted as DJ, spinning a fantastic variety of tunes specially curated for the tasting.
Mr. Suckling was present all through the course of the event—which ran from 4pm till 8pm—meeting and greeting his many admirers and always taking the time to talk. His easy going manner and style is the antithesis of what you might expect from one of the world’s most respected wine critics; a trait that no doubt endeared him to everyone on hand that night. About halfway through the evening Mr. Suckling addressed the assembled crowd, thanking them for attending, and encouraging them to raise a glass and sample all they can of the great wines of Italy.
The wines represented at the event ran the gamut from bold Barolos to superb Super Tuscans, but regardless of one’s preference it’s worth noting that all these wines, whatever their cost of rating, represent a unique character that can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the world. “There’s a great sense of history and culture distilled into every bottle,” says Suckling, and it’s hard not to agree with his sentiment.