Show cover of The James Suckling Wine Podcast

The James Suckling Wine Podcast

This is the podcast of James Suckling, international wine critic with 40 years of experience tasting, critiquing and loving wine! We focus on the great wines of the world including Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, and Argentina, but are always open to and looking for surprises. We taste and review thousands of wines each year - 25,000 in 2019 alone! - and meet hundreds of the world's best winemakers along that journey. That's where this podcast comes in - a place to access my conversations with these titans of the wine world, and also my own tasting team as we travel the world to taste amazing wines. I hope you enjoy these podcasts - head to jamessuckling.com for even more reports, videos and articles about how to enjoy wine.

Tracks

MICHEL FRIOU AND MANUEL LOUZADA ON ALMAVIVA’S 25TH-ANNIVERSARY VINTAGE
JamesSuckling.com Senior Editor Zekun Shuai discusses Chilean winery Almaviva's 2020 vintage – the 25th-anniversary bottling – with winemaker Michel Friou and managing director Manuel Louzada.
26:11 09/19/2022
CHARLES AND HARRY SYMINGTON ON SYMINGTON FAMILY ESTATE’S 2020 PORTS
James sits down with Charles and Harry Symington of the eponymous Symington Family Estates in Portugal's Douro Valley to discuss in detail their 2020 vintage Port offerings."How did it go down and how did it compare to the last declared year?" James asks the two.Charles Symington, the head winemaker of the winery, said rain and warm weather in the early part of the year led to bud bursts two to three weeks early and an early flowering, followed by a dry summer with below-average rainfall and a hot stretch from early July to early August. Then, in mid-August, more rains finally came, "which allowed us to get through maturation quite nicely."Have a listen to their entire conversation to learn how the weather in 2020 went into bottle for each of the wines they made from that year, including their Warre's Vintage Port 2020 and Dow’s Vintage Port Quinta do Bomfim 2020.
07:48 08/30/2022
EMILIEN BOUTILLAT AND MAUD RABIN TALK RARE CHAMPAGNE’S LATEST RELEASES
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt recently tasted and discussed the latest vintages of Rare Champagne with chief winemaker Emilien Boutillat and brand director Maud Rabin on Zoom from our office in Tuscany and you can listen to the conversation and insights shared here.Rare Champagne 2008 is supple and soft for a cool vintage, with a complex array of tropical fruit and spice notes, having spent 11 years on the lees with almost two years of bottle age. Rare Champagne Rosé 2012, just released on the market, shows fresher fruit and fantastic vibrancy and elegance, made as a blend of 60 percent chardonnay and 40 percent pinot noir, with 8 percent of pinot noir red wine from Les Riceys.Both wines are vinified in 100 percent stainless steel and are blends of chardonnay and pinot noir mainly from the Montagne de Reims.Read about more great Champagnes in our annual Champagne report.
14:32 08/20/2022
ROBERT SANTANA OF ENVINATE ON THE FRESHNESS AND DRINKABILITY OF 'NEW SPANISH WINE'
JamesSuckling.com Senior Editor Zekun Shuai interviews Robert Santana of Spain's Envinate about his winemaking philosophies. "We want to taste wines that take you to the place," Robert says. "The second important thing for us is the character," which comes from a deep understanding of how vintages are affected by the weather each year, and the third element is the "soul" of the wine – "that is the people that are around in the vineyard and in the cellar. We think it's very important that these people are happy and understand [our philosophies] and do the work."
16:24 07/31/2022
FRANCISCO BAETTIG OF VIÑA ERRAZURIZ ON CHILE'S RECENT VINTAGES
Francisco Baettig and JamesSuckling.com Senior Editor Zekun Shuai talk about the differences between the 2020 and 2021 vintages in Chile. Because 2020 was dry and hot, Baettig said, "the challenge was to preserve the freshness of the fruit ... so vineyard management really was key in terms of promoting a little bit of the vigor of the plant."Harvesting was also done earlier than normal in order to preserve the color, "so overall when we try the wines you'll see that the alcohol is pretty moderate," Baettig said. "You won't see overripe flavors but of course, you will see wines with some power and concentration."To read our full 2022 Chile report, click here.
58:15 07/07/2022
RICARDO BAETTIG OF MORANDÉ DISCUSSES CHILE'S VARIETAL DIVERSITY AND RECENT VINTAGES
Senior Editor Zekun Shuai sits down with Ricardo Baettig of Chilean winery Morandé to talk carbonic maceration, new varieties in Chile and what the future holds for the country's wine scene.You can read our full 2022 Chile report here: https://www.jamessuckling.com/wine-tasting-reports/chile-annual-report-beyond-carmenere-and-into-an-ocean-of-freshness/
21:35 06/28/2022
CONCHA Y TORO’S MARCELO PAPA ON CHILE’S 2020 VINTAGE AND THE EFFECT OF LA NIÑA
JamesSuckling.com Senior Editor Zekun Shuai chats with Marcelo Papa, the winemaker and technical director of Chilean winery Concha y Toro, about the 2020 and 2021 vintages and how the weather each year affected their wines.
10:32 06/09/2022
DISCUSSING URUGUAYAN WINE WITH SANTIAGO DEICAS OF BODEGA FAMILIA DEICAS
JamesSuckling.com Senior Editor Zekun Shuai talks with Santiago Deicas of Bodega Familia Deicas in Uruguay about the country's wine scene and about Familia Deicas' latest releases.
33:38 05/18/2022
DANIEL PI ON TRES 14 – HIS FAMILY GARAGE WINE PROJECT
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt chats with Argentine winemaker Daniel Pi  on his family "garage wine" project – Tres 14.
32:04 04/28/2022
SOTER VINEYARDS’ TONY SOTER ON OREGON WINEMAKING
James sits down with Tony Soter of Soter Vineyards in Willamette Valley, Oregon, to discuss the state's evolving winemaking scene. James asks Tony about his views on how Soter Vineyards is doing now and what their future – and the state's – look like.Tony says the success of Oregon's pinot noir in recent years is due to the maturing "skill sets" of the state's winemakers, and adds that the increased consistency of the product comes from better viticultural, greater winemaking experience and the climatological change toward warmer temperatures. "It's also about knowing that Oregon is never going to compete on the world stage as anything but a small producer of high-quality wines because we don't get the yields that other sunny climates do…  We've learned probably a hard lesson but one that's serving us well consistently now about cropping the vines conservatively so that they have a chance to ripen in our relatively limited season.”
07:54 04/26/2022
'GETTING THE VITICULTURE RIGHT': BRENNON LEIGHTON OF K VINTNERS TALKS WASHINGTON WINE
James visited the vineyards of K Vintners in Walla Walla, Washington, and then spoke with winemaker Brennon Leighton about the importance of vineyards in the state's winemaking aspirations.“It's vital to making authentic wines from the place that they come from,” Brennan says. “If you're not doing the viticulture right, you're not trying to protect the integrity of the place... Everything we do with winemaking is to try to honor the place it comes from.”
07:42 04/26/2022
TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES: FORGING A NEW PATH WITH INNOVATIVE WINEMAKING IN MENDOZA
James chats with Herve Birnie-Scott and Marcos Fernandez of Argentine winery Terrazas de los Andes about how recent harvests have gone and how their work in the vineyards has translated to a better quality of wine.
26:24 04/25/2022
MARCELO BELMONTE FROM TRAPICHE ON THEIR TERROIR SERIES WINES
JamesSuckling.com Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt tasted some new releases from Trapiche, one of Argentina's largest and oldest wine brands, with Marcelo Belmonte over Zoom. Marcelo is the director of winemaking and viticulture at Trapiche and he called in from Mendoza to discuss the wines. They tasted two chardonnays and malbecs from Trapiche's Terroir Series, a project started in 2003. These are from single vineyards and aim to express specific terroir and microclimates, as well as the history and importance of the individual grape growers. Their 2020 chardonnays from Fina Las Piedras and El Tomillo are intense yet fresh, a result of three separate harvests at different ripeness levels to balance tropical, ripe fruit notes with acidity and elegance. The 2019 malbec from Finca Orellana, made from vines of more than 70 years old, shows beautiful dark fruit and intensity with silky tannins, in contrast to the more structured, firm and focused Finca Ambrosia, a malbec that has promising aging potential. They also tasted the very drinkable 2021 Oak Cask Malbec, a great value red at $10 a bottle.
27:02 04/18/2022
BODEGA CHACRA'S PIERO INCISA DELLA ROCCHETTA ON PATAGONIA'S WINEMAKING MAGIC
JamesSuckling.com Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt recently talked and tasted over Zoom with Piero Incisa della Rocchetta of Bodega Chacra in Patagonia, Argentina. They tasted Chacra’s latest vintages of pinot noir, including his Sin Azufre (without sulfur) wines and old vine Cincuenta y Cinco and Treinta y Dos (which was our wine of the year in 2020), from vineyards planted in 1955 and 1932: structured, mineral and incredibly fresh. “It’s so hard to make bad wine here – the protagonist here is nature.” The 2021 chardonnays, made as a collaboration with Burgundy’s Jean-Marc Roulot, are taut, focused and precise. The grapes for Chacra Chardonnay are from vines grafted onto 40+ year old merlot vines. Both the pinots and chardonnays are intellectual and full of tension yet immensely drinkable. 2022 has been slightly more complicated, with sudden rain during the red grape harvest (the whites are so far looking to be the “best since 2017”), so that the grapes were picked later; they are currently maturing in a mix of concrete, clay and used oak barrels.
28:36 04/13/2022
TASTING TENUTA SAN GUIDO’S SASSICAIA WITH PRISCILLA INCISA DELLA ROCHETTA
From Napa, James talks via Zoom with the owner of Tuscany’s Tenuta San Guido, Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, and her assistant, Elena Brachini, about the recent Sassicaia vintages. James asks Priscilla about the growing season during 2019 and how it was different from 2018.Priscilla says 2019 was "quite cool and fresh in the spring and we also had a couple of hailstorms at a certain point but then … the real summer temperatures arrived after the second half of June.” The heat wasn’t “out of control,” though, and there were very good conditions during the harvest, she says, with very nice temperature differences between night and day.The main difference between the 2018 and 2019 Sassicaia, she says, is the 2018 is “a little bit lighter” than the 2019. “We think it's quite representative of our style – it's so perfumed … with all those nice herbs and flowers you get on the coast during the summer.”
09:49 04/13/2022
ALPHA OMEGA: USING OLD-WORLD TRADITIONS TO CREATE EXCITING NEW WINES
James recently had a tasting over Zoom with winemaker Matt Brain and consulting enologist Andy Erickson of Alpha Omega in St. Helena, California. They discussed the winery’s goal of making more refined and transparent vineyard sourced wines, which shone through particularly in Napa’s superb 2019 vintage.
16:20 04/12/2022
DANIEL PI ON BEMBERG MALBEC GUALTALLARY VALLE DE UCO EL TOMILLO PARCELA 5 LA LINTERNA AND PIONERO
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt tastes five consecutive vintages of Bemberg Estate Wines Malbec Gualtallary Valle de Uco El Tomillo Parcela 5 La Linterna and five vintages of Pionero, their malbec-based blend, with winemaker Daniel Pi. Parcela 5 is made with a low-intervention philosophy with wild yeasts, like all their wines, and is only released after four years. Pionero is a vintage-dependent blend of 60 to 65 percent malbec with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, all from El Tomillo, the same vineyard as Parcela 5.
24:54 04/08/2022
DANIEL PI OF BEMBERG ESTATE ON THE 2020 VINTAGE
Daniel Pi, the advisor and winemaker of Bemberg Estate Wines in Mendoza, Argentina, and previous director of winemaking at Grupo Peñaflor, takes Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt through the latest vintages of Bemberg's single-parcel La Linterna series, including chardonnay from El Tomillo; pinot noir from Los Arboles to the south; malbec from Valle de Pedernal just north of Mendoza, in San Juan; and cabernet sauvignon from extreme altitudes in Cafayate, Salta.
19:07 04/07/2022
TASTING CHAMPAGNE HENRIOT WITH ALICE TETIENNE AND INTRODUCING L’INATTENDUE 2016
Alice Tetienne, the cellar master of Henriot, introduces the inaugural 2016 vintage of L'Inattendue, a 100 percent Grand Cru chardonnay from Avize,, alongside Henriot's main wines: the Brut Souverain, Henriot’s historic cuvee; the Blanc de Blancs, a blend of chardonnay from 12 Crus; and the 2006 Cuvee Hemera, a 50-50 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay from the house’s six historical Grand Crus. Alice explained the decision behind Henriot's first-ever single-vineyard bottling, describing the surprising richness of the chardonnay from Avize in the Cote des Blancs from the 2016 harvest, in contrast to the Grand Cru village's usual laser freshness and precision. After four years on the lees and over another year in bottle, L'Inattendue 2016 will be released in June this year, and will become a permanent cuvee in Henriot's collection. The subsequent specific vineyard bottlings after each harvest remain to be discovered although they will likely from one of the house's historical Crus (Verzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Avize, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Chouilly).
31:34 04/06/2022
PATRICK DE SUAREZ D 'AULAN ON ALTA VISTA'S 2019 TERROIR SELECTION AND 2018 SINGLE-VINEYARD MALBECS
JamesSuckling.com Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt talks with Patrick de Suarez D'Aulan, the president of Alta Vista in Mendoza, Argentina, about the winery's history and their production of single-vineyard wines.
49:30 04/05/2022
MATHIEU ROLAND-BILLECART ON BILLECART-SALMON’S LE CLOS ST.-HILAIRE 2006 AND CUVEE LOUIS SALMON 2008
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt tastes two of Billecart-Salmon's exceptional vintage Champagnes with CEO Mathieu Roland-Billecart: Le Clos St.-Hilaire 2006 and Cuvée Louis Salmon 2008.Le Clos St.-Hilaire is made from a unique, single parcel of old pinot noir vines, vinified in oak casks and aged for 13 years on the lees. 6,750 bottles were made of the 2006 vintage – an incredibly harmonious and seamless Blanc de Noirs, with fascinating spice notes and beautifully fine, integrated bubbles. It's one to enjoy for many years to come.The Cuvée Louis Salmon 2008 is a blend of Grand Cru chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs, which will be launched later this year – a complex, rich yet focused and refined Blanc de Blancs.
29:01 03/30/2022
‘THE DIVERSITY WE’RE SEEING IS PRETTY INTENSE’: PAUL HOBBS TALKS VIÑA COBOS’ 2019 VINTAGE
James and Paul Hobbs, the renowned California winemaker and founder of Viña Cobos in Mendoza, Argentina, compares Argentina's 2019 vintage with 2018 and 2020."There's been a lot of variability in some of these vintages, James," Paul says. "There's just been a shifting in the weather and so there's been more rainfall, which I think has been beneficial for Mendoza."'19 was a stunning growing season, fairly uniform but kind of a wet January, February that gave way to a beautiful fall – dry, cool ripening period," Paul adds. "So the wines that we see, particularly with '19, are coming out with incredible structure and really picking up through their root system ... each of the different types of terroirs that we work with. So the diversity we're seeing is pretty intense, and it's so beautifully rendered."
11:11 03/30/2022
VALENTINA ABBONA OF MARCHESI DI BAROLO DISCUSSES THE 2018 VINTAGE
JamesSuckling.com Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt sits down with Valentina Abbona, the owner of Marchesi di Barolo, to talk about the 2018 vintage."2018 was quite a challenging vintage in terms of work to be carried out in the vineyards because ... we did have a lot of rain rain already in wintertime in the first months of the year and some rain at the beginning of summer," Valentina says. But, she adds, "this great water supply compensated for the very dry season that we had in 2017" and helped restore the soils, resulting in "really good expressions for all of the sites."
24:21 03/28/2022
THE CHALLENGE OF 2019 NAPA: DOMINUS ESTATE'S TOD MOSTERO
Tod Mostero, the director of Dominus Estate, tells James about the challenges of 2019's "really rainy year," compared with 2018, which was much drier, resulting in an easier harvest. Most of the rain in 2019 came from January through April, Tod said, leaving "really wet soils and a lot of vegetative growth, which meant a lot more work in the vineyard." Tod then made the decision to open up the canopy to let the sun shine in, taking the risk that the exposed vines could be less resistant to the sun and heat. But what he learned, he said, "is that by removing foliage early and letting the sun shine in the canopy, the grapes get accustomed to sunlight and so during a couple of heat spikes ... the vines that had their their canopy opened up resisted perfectly and there was no damage.""When you open up the canopy and you expose grapes early on, the skins developed a thick sort of coating to protect themselves, and so those berries were beautiful and nice," he said, as opposed to vines that had a lot more foliage, which ended up "blanched" after they had been exposed to sun during the heat spikes.
09:55 03/23/2022
GUILLAUME BOUDET OF HYDE DE VILLAINE ON NAPA’S 2018 AND 2019 VINTAGES
James and Guillaume Boudet, the winemaker for HdV in Napa, California, discuss the differences between the 2018 and 2019 vintages."In the long run we'll see which one is is better than the other one," Guillaume says. "I think '18 might be up there, but also '19 has more of this approachable charm almost from the get-go. But '18 was so easy – it was a very compact vintage but we were able to pick everything when we wanted to pick and still be able to retain a lot of freshness and aromas in the wines... so time will tell but definitely '18 is is one of the top three vintages that we've had in in the past 10-15 years, definitely."They also talk about the 2020 vintage and how the fires affected HdV's operations.
06:23 03/22/2022
MATERVINI WINERY FOUNDER SANTIAGO ACHAVAL ON 2019 AND 2020 MALBECS
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt and Santiago Achaval, the founder of Argentine winery Matervini, talks Matervini's 2019 and 2020 malbecs, and why malbec is perfectly suited to Argentine tastes and terroir. "It's our conviction after many years of making wine in Mendoza and in Salta and throughout Argentina that malbec is the only variety that has the adaptability, the plasticity to do well in all of Argentina," Santiago says. "Malbec does well everywhere – it does well from Patagonia to Hui Hui. It does well from 300 meters above sea level to 3,300 meters above sea level. In every single location where I've made wine, malbec is the best wine."
43:09 03/20/2022
CARLO MONDAVI AND THE RAEN TOUCH
James talks with Carlo Mondavi, the founder of Raen Winery in Sonoma Coast, California, about the role site and microflora play in imbuing Raen wines with their coastal California characteristics."This is very California terroir," Carlo tells James. "Those beautiful trees, flowers, the grasses ... even the dirt that comes up and comes into contact with the vines and the clusters during the final weeks of their evolution on the vine, and then we have this beautiful coast here that creates this incredible environment.""We love the fog, and it really just creates such a combination of great geology site and microflora, which i think for me leads to wines of incredible expression."Have a listen to all Carlo's thoughts on Raen's recent vintages and their varying personalities.
14:05 03/18/2022
‘THE HEARTBREAK GRAPE’: DISCUSSING DOMAINE NICO’S SINGLE-VINEYARD PINOT NOIRS
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt chats with Laura Catena, the managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata and founder of Domaine Zico, and winemaker Alejandro Vigil, about their journey with pinot noir in Argentina and how Domaine Zico came to be."Pinot noir was always the heartbreak grape," Laura says. "Pinot noir was always difficult. We had a few good vintages in the beginning, in the late '90s... Because of that, we planted in Adriana."And then, she said, "we had what I call the 'dark ages,'" marked by overproduction and rot. Following a few discouraging vintages, Laura said she and Alejandro then decided that "we're really going to do something important with pinot noir." It marked a turning point for Domaine Zico.
20:27 03/17/2022
‘I LOVE THE CHARM OF THE ’19S’: DVO’S MAYA DALLA VALLE AND AXEL HEINZ ON NAPA 2019 VS 2018
James chats in person in Napa Valley with Maya Dalla Valle, the winemaker at Dalla Valle Vineyards, and Axel Heinz, winemaker at Ornellaia in Tuscany, about the 2019 vintage for their joint project, DVO, and how it compares with 2018.As to James' question of which vintage she likes better, Maya said: "It's so hard. They're both such high-quality vintages, but I would say six months ago I would have said '18. I've been really loving the '18s and the depth that those wines have, and I feel like they're very philosophical wines that can continue to draw you back and are very intriguing and really make you think."She continued: "But I love the charm of the 19s as well. 'Friendly' is not the right word to use for it, but they have this aromatic intensity that I feel very drawn to between the florality and the fruit. It's very appealing. So it's a tough call between the two, I would say, but today I think the '19's are drawing me in a little more.""That's a nice problem to have," James wryly replies.
11:00 03/17/2022
TASTING AND DISCUSSING NEW RELEASES FROM BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA
Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt discusses the newest releases from Argentine vintner Bodega Catena Zapata with managing director Laura Catena and winemaker Alejandro Vigil.
40:31 03/04/2022