Feb 22, 2015

Great Wines of Italy with James Suckling

Heading up to San Francisco there was a sense of excitement in the car. The reason, the opportunity to taste a bucket load of top class Italian wines and get to say g'day to James Suckling. Having spent some time in Italy and simply falling in love with the food and wine and almost everything in general, this was a way to fall back into those lovely flavors at the James Suckling Great Wines of Italy event.

The location was the Generals Residence on the hill overlooking San Francisco Bay at Fort Mason. While parking in that area is always a bit of crap shoot we were early enough in our excitement that we managed to get a great spot.

What a great setup to taste world class wine (other than parking). The Generals residence has the most spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay from three rooms with continuous windows facing the bay and on what was a spectacular California winters day (could have been spring).

As we entered the tasting area the fist word to cross our lips was one made famous by Steve Erwin 'Crikey', as in Crikey where do we start! With a few hundred or so top notch wines it is a little overwhelming for the average taster. But then again, we are not average, and so it was flat out like a lizard drinking! With our designated driver and our in-house formally educated Sommelier Dave to keep us in check we dove in with the enthusiasm of kids in a candy store (lolly shop).

There were magnificent Barolos, intriguing Chiantis, magical Merlots and many other wonderful wines and even a couple we had not tasted before.

With ample and mostly appropriate nibbles, a simply awesome view, and some amazing Italian Wines, the afternoon was a crackin wine lovers dream.

There were as stated some wonderful wines. The one that overall caught our attention was from Cusumano. Their nero d'avola was a beautiful medium full bodied wine that checked all the box's. The Cusumano Sicilia Tenuta San Giacomo Sagana 2012 is a wine for wine lovers and we feel it is worthy of a rating of 8+ and ***. A great wine at a very reasonable price.

Taste the wine then create music to reflect what you tasted...
Why this wine over any number of other fantastic wines? That is a good question as there truly were a ton of fantastic wines. We are not sure other than perhaps it was that it stood out by being a little different than most as well as extremely good. Probably did not hurt that Maria Leone and Phoebe were very gracious.

Having some many great wines to taste has its drawbacks. The next couple weeks means a regular wine gets treated very critically.

An interesting and entertaining (if not a bit poncy) part of the event was when James and his mate with a violin Rob Moose, the awarding-winning musician, serenaded the crowd with his violin putting the taste of wine to music.

One of our favorites for best overall
value. We got the Message in a
 Bottle Sting and we liked it 7 and ****.
A first class event and we look forward to attending more in the future.  After a chat with James we are also excited that there may be an Australian version in the future (call us).

We also understand that  most of the wines are still available through California's top premium wine merchant, K&L, who co-hosted the tasting.

A top class event, gracious host, magnificent wines in a spectacular setting. Brilliant! Cheers James.

Happy Wine Adventures,


  1. Always kinda thought Sukling was a poncy jerk. Never met him but just seemed that way. Tom T.

  2. Jealous! It definitely can be a little overwhelming having that many awesome wines to try. Instead of a couple hour event it should have been a couple days ; )

  3. This place was amazing! Great food, it's smaller than others I guess but it is still a fair sized fun. The decor at this venue was amazing as every note of music reverberates off the beautiful walls. Everything about rental halls in Philadelphia is nothing less than 5 stars.


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