James Suckling is one of today’s leading wine critics whose views are read and respected by wine lovers, serious wine collectors, and people in the wine trade worldwide. Most of his time is spent working on projects based around his his own websiteJamesSuckling.com, as well as promoting and creating pieces for his 100 point wine glass collection with Lalique, the famous French crystal house. He is also the wine editor for Asia Tatler and its nine luxury magazines in the region, including Hong Kong Tatler, China’s Shang Liu Tatler, Singapore Tatler, and Thailand Tatler.
Suckling also organizes major luxury wine events in Asia, Europe, and North America as well as the “Great Wines” series which will be held in Bangkok on the 30th of November. Hotelintel.co had a chance to catch up with James Suckling to talk about Wine in Asia.
Hotelintel.co: Are there any misconceptions that you have discovered about wine pairing in Asia?
**James Suckling: **The biggest misconception is focusing on wine and pairing with Asian food. This is making wine enjoyment and appreciation too complicated for Asians. Wine and food pairing is a western concept that is not ultimately adaptable to how Asians enjoy wine and food. I eat Asian food at home as my wife is Korean and I have many Thai and Chinese friends. We tend to try many different courses of food at the same time and then enjoy wine at the same time. It’s a dynamic experience at the table and not a search for the perfect wine and food combination. Make it simple and fun.
**Hotelintel.co: **How do you ensure the success of a wine-pairing / tasting event?
James Suckling:The success of a wine event is all about service – both organization and timing. There are so many small details from the quality of the glassware to the temperature of the wine to the quality and speed of service. Details!
Hotelintel.co: You mentioned that wine glasses play an important role – why is that? What makes a good wine glass and what should hoteliers be looking for when selecting glasses? Is there any scientific backing to why one glass is more preferable than another?
James Suckling:Of course, I make my own glasses with Lalique – Lalique 100 points by James Suckling. And I have a new line coming out for restaurants and wineries call NEO by Lalique and James Suckling. But I think that quality stemware is essential for a hotel. It’s not just the functionality but it must be the quality and the feel of the glass in your hand. Nothing worse than cheap stemware.
Hotelintel.co: What’s hot in the wine world? What should 3-5 star hotels be stocking?
**James Suckling: **There are so many hot areas right now. Italy and Andes (Chile and Argentina) are hot right now producing beautiful wines for the money. In general, the trend is towards wines that offer beautiful drinkability. The days of heavy, jammy and over extracted wines are fading.
Hotelintel.co: What are your suggestions for ‘newbies’ wanting to get a good education in wine?
**James Suckling: **The only way to learn about wine in the beginning to taste lots of different things and see what you like. That is how I started drinking and educating myself about wine while in university. Wine education begins with good wine appreciation!
Suckling continued “Thailand continues to reinforce its position as one of Asia’s most dynamic premium wine markets combining a growing local thirst for the best bottles with an expanding number of visitors drinking good wine while on holiday.”
If you have a chance to catch one of the events that James Suckling puts on around the world, treat yourself to the opportunity and intoxicate yourself with the knowledge that he has on offer.