Over 160 different Italian wines will be featured in “The Grand Tasting” in the ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Era wan between 4pm and 8pm on Friday December 9 as the region’s largest high-end wine event is set to once again wow Thailand’s rapidly growing collection of wine lovers.

‘Great Wines of Italy’ will feature the best wineries and wines of Italy and provide a unique opportunity to savor and discover a selection of the region’s most sought-after wines from more than 80 prestigious Italian brands as well as chosen premium boutique wineries.

All wineries and wines on showcase have been hand-selected by James Suckling for their quality and character, reaching top scores of 90 points and above. Winemakers and vintners will be personally in attendance to pour some of their best wines at the walk-around tasting.

“Every year we take it one step further and one notch up,” said James Suckling, CEO of influential wine platform www.JamesSuckling.com. “And this year is certainly no different with a wonderful array of huge talented wine producers and personalities and definitely the top five wineries in the country.

“I’m delighted to be welcoming the likes of Franco Conterno of Aldo Conterno One of greatest producers of Barolos and the maker of No. 1 Italian Wine of the Year in 2016, Anna Abonna of Marchesi di Barolo, another great Barolo producer; Luca Sanjust of Petrolo, one of Tuscany’s best wine producers; Klaus Gasser of Terlan, one of Italy’s best white wine producers; and Vera Malisani of Bellavista. It is an amazing honour to introduce such talented wine makers to Thailand.”

Los Angeles-born, Hong Kong residing Suckling, described by Forbes Magazine as “one of the world’s most powerful wine critics” is also a huge fan of spicy food and is set to bust a few myths about Thai food and how it works with wine this year too.

This year he is running a lunch seminar called “Spice Factor: Does Wine Work with Thai Food” with that will put his top five Italian producers in the same room with five top Thai chefs including Pitaya Phanphensophon, CEO of worldwide Thai restaurant chain Mango Tree, which has outlets many major cities worldwide such as London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Washington DC and celebrity Chef Ian Kittichai of Issaya Siamese Club fame.

“We are very passionate about food and wine and we are excited to be adding an educational element to our annual Bangkok event – leading a discussion about how Thai food and wine work together,” said Mr Suckling.

The evening before The Grand Tasting on December 8 there will also be an invitation-only welcome dinner featuring 80 of the best wine producers from Italy and the first-time screening of “Cannubi: A Vineyard Kissed By God” and a live performance by Surahn Sidhu, one of Australia’s most accomplished artists. Three Thai food masters will prepare the cuisine for the sit down dinner: Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn of Le Duc, Executive Sous Chef Somprasong Charoenphol at Grand Hyatt Erawan and Chef Archara To-Ussami, Chef de Cuisine at the Erawan Tearoom.

Suckling is considering one of the world top wine critics. In his more than three-decades career, he has tasted about 200,000 wines. Just this year, he reviewed 12,000 wines with his small team of editors. The tasting notes and ratings (he uses the 100 points scale) can be found on his website: www.jamessuckling.com. The site is one of the most popular of its kind focusing on wine reports, high-definition videos and articles.

JamesSuckling.com’s annual list of the Top 100 Best Wines is one of the most anticipated events in the premium wine trade in Asia and the rest of the world. It was launched a few weeks ago. This year’s Wine of the Year was California’s Opus One Napa Valley 2013. His No. 1 Italian Wine of the Year was the Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo Granbussia Riserva 2008, a rare tiny production wine from North Italy.

All participants of the Great Wines of Italy will have the opportunity to taste their wines in a specially design Lalique glass from Suckling, who is a designer for the French crystal company and part-owner of the Lalique James Suckling 100 points glass range.