JamesSuckling.com - reflects my four decades of experience as a journalist and a wine critic. From tasting notes and videos to blogs and events, we focus on the great wines of the world including Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile and Argentina. We have 22 employees around the world, with our main office in Hong Kong, and nine are editors/tasters. In 2021, we rated slightly more than 25,000 wines.
I believe that today’s wine drinker deserves more than just written reviews and criticism. They need to see with their own eyes the place, the people and the rating process. Truly, there’s so much more to learn about wine than just simple numbers and prose.
We taste thousands of wines each month as well. Those on location are generally not blind, but we bring out the paper bags for the larger, more organized ones. We taste young wines for both the pleasure they give as well as their potential to improve with age. I was told early in my career that an outstanding quality wine must improve with age, and I have always believed this since. When rating mature wines, we put more emphasis on their current drinking pleasure. My team of editors follow the same wine reviewing criteria. Finally, I rate using the 100-point scale. I’ve used this point system for close to 40 years, and I still believe it’s the simplest way to rate a wine, with its origins from grade school in the United States.
A wine that we rate 90 points or more is outstanding (A). It’s a wine we want to drink a glass of and is an outstanding purchase. If we rate a wine 95 points or more (A+), it is a must buy and a bottle that we want to drink in its entirety! If we rate a wine less than 88 points, it might still be worth buying but proceed with caution. I certainly wouldn’t recommend spending your money on anything rated lower. Wines rated from barrel, or unfinished wines, are rated with two-point ranges such as 90-91 or 92-93.