There are few people in the wine world so horribly imbued with their own importance (sic) as James Suckling. Everything James Suckling (.com) does or relates seems only aimed at self-promotion. He is evidently in awe of wealth, the wealthy and the whole idea of the jet set world.
I met him twice ten years ago and he seemed nice enough. And he is, or at very least was, a good friend of my mentor Tim Johnston. But since he left the Wine Spectator, taking apparently most of their ideas, he seems to be spiralling out of control.
And his embarrassment in Mondovino was not edifying. He was fimed by a Pinocchio sign and related having given a couple of extra points to his landlord’s wine because, er, well because he was his landlord. That’s a serious confession for a serious critic.
This latest effort Cannubi – A vineyard kissed by God (how crap is that title?) although slightly interesting when the producers talk, ends with the most treacley-sweet self congratulation on a seismic event which quite frankly doesn’t look very seismic.
His toast is so rediculously pompous and fawning it makes you want to retch. What a statesman! What a man!
His commentary is lightweight, shallow and without anything beyond easy, unacademic self-gratification.
His oh-so quaint arrival in a Fiat Panda must be the only time he has driven anything less than a Mercedes S class in decades.
One Montalcino producer who refuses to let Suckling taste her wines accuses him not only of impropriety (I will go no further) but also of a more damning, “He wouldn’t understand”. And as for impropriety, try this.
He is awful, his web-site is awful, and although I would never have used the term myself, the infamous posting “James Suckling is a Douche-Bag” was perhaps not far from the truth. Just type it into your search engine and you will see I am not alone.
When he is not actively promoting himself or boasting about the friends he has, he is promoting his daughter, or his line in (hideous) branded wine stemware, or his trite film on Cigars..All of which you can buy in a couple of clicks on his impartial website.
He could have been refreshing, but he chose to be repugnant.
As he might say himself, on being an asshole, I’m giving James Suckling “a 100 points on this…”