This is the podcast of James Suckling, international wine critic with 40 years of experience tasting, critiquing and loving wine! We focus on the great wines of the world including Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, and Argentina, but are always open to and looking for surprises. We taste and review thousands of wines each year - 25,000 in 2019 alone! - and meet hundreds of the world's best winemakers along that journey. That's where this podcast comes in - a place to access my conversations with these titans of the wine world, and also my own tasting team as we travel the world to taste amazing wines. I hope you enjoy these podcasts - head to jamessuckling.com for even more reports, videos and articles about how to enjoy wine.
MOUTON ROTHSCHILD’S JEAN-EMMANUEL DANJOY TALKS 2019 BORDEAUX
James sits down with Mouton Rothschild's Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy to discuss how the weather affected the 2019 vintage in Bordeaux, and how the vintage turned out now that it's in bottle.
Jean-Emmnuel said rain at the end of July, at the start of versaison, as well as at the end of September helped bring vines some relief. After the latter rains is when Mouton Rothschild picked the merlot, and they also waited until the first few weeks of October to pick the cabernets in order to allow them to better ripen, giving them finer tannins.
Their discussion about the vintage, viticulture and winemaking lasts until the 15:t0 mark, when James and Jean-Emmanuel turn to tasting.
CHRIS MULLINEUX OF MULLINEUX WINES ON THE GROWTH OF SOUTH AFRICA'S WINE SCENE
JamesSuckling.com Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt sits down with Chris Mullineux of Mullineux Wines to discuss how the South African wine industry has developed over the last 20 years, where it’s heading and the impact the Covid pandemic has had on it.
Chris said that after Nelson Mandela was freed in 1994 and the post-apartheid era began, “South Africans felt we had to kind of imitate the great wines of the world to make an impression, so try to make a great Bordeaux blend – that kind of thing,” he said. But as winemakers’ confidence grew through the years, so did their adaptability and willingness to experiment with different wine styles and varietals, especially when it came to chenin blanc.
Now, he said, South African wines have their own authenticity and are “no longer trying to be something else.”
‘A GREAT EXPRESSION OF CHATEAU MARGAUX’: TASTING MARGAUX 2019 WITH PHILIPPE BASCAULES
James and Philippe Bascaules, the managing director of Chateau Margaux, talk about the estate's latest releases, including the Chateau Margaux Margaux 2019.
"'19 from the beginning was an exceptional vintage," Philippe says. "It has the same level of concentration" as the '18, but with a small change: the rain between merlot and cabernet sauvignon that "changed completely the style of the cabernet sauvignon." The result in the '19, he said, is a wine that has a lot of charm and is open: "In '19, I think we have a great expression of Chateau Margaux."
James says upon tasting the Margaux Margaux 2019 that it "really has this aroma of crushed stones, like the soil of Margaux." Philippe agrees, saying the minerality is an indication of a fresh and pure wine.
Have a listen to their conversation about vintage, vinification and winemaking, which lasts until the 14:31 mark, when they turn their attention to tasting.
TASTING DOMAINES BARONS DE ROTHSCHILD 2019 RELEASES WITH ERIC KOHLER
James and Eric Kohler, the technical director of Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Duhart Milon, discuss what went into the making of the 2019 Lafite Rothschild and other Domaines Barons de Rothschild releases, and how Eric feels about the vintage now that it's in bottle.
"The fruit was delicious before the harvest, [as was] the juice before the vinification," Eric said. "If you remember en primeur, this vintage always had a great harmony, a perfect balance of freshness, an incredible concentration but no aggressivity at all... This vintage will be very easy to drink."
Watch them taste the Chateau L'Evangile Pomerol 2019, the Chateau Duhart-Milon Rothschild Pauillac 2019, the Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac 2019 and Carruades de Lafite Rotshchild 2019.
Have a listen to their conversation about vintage, viticulture and winemaking, which lasts until the 07:22 mark, when James and Eric begin tasting.
‘THIS WINE’S AMAZING ON THE PALATE’: TASTING JOSEPH PHELPS 2018 PINOT NOIR
James chats with Justin Ennis, the winemaker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in St. Helena, California, about the 2021 harvest in Sonoma Coast and Napa and about the new Joseph Phelps pinot noir releases from 2018.
Justin says the harvest in Sonoma was 14 percent down overall for pinot noir. Despite this, he says, 2021 should yield very high quality. "Believe it or not, summer was fairly mild. We didn't have any significant heat spikes out here, nor did Napa, quite frankly," he said. "It was a breath of fresh air compared to 2020."
Tasting the Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Freestone Estate Proem No. 1 2018, James says: "This wine's amazing on the palate. It's like really sort of zesty, zingy [with an] electric sort of acidity, and there's so much citrus fruit." The No. 2 is interesting, James says, "because it's a little bit softer, sort of melts in your mouth. It doesn't have that really intense acid character. It's very different."
Listen in on their entire Zoom chat to learn more about Justin's winemaking strategies and what the future holds for Joseph Phelps.
TASTING 2019 BORDEAUX WITH CLAIRE VILLARS-LURTON AND GONZAGUE LURTON
JamesSuckling.com Associate Editor Claire Nesbitt sits down with Claire Villars-Lurton, the owner of Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal, and her husband, Gonzague Lurton, the owner of Chateau Durfort-Vivens, to discuss how their 2019 releases differ from 2018.
"'19 was very different from '18," Gonzague says. "18 was very sunny with a high level of maturity and '19 was brighter, I would say. In Margaux, especially, we have this flowery taste, which we have not that much in the '18, which makes the wine ... probably less heavy than '18, but much more brilliant. I think they have a fantastic energy in the '19."
Find out all their thoughts about how the weather has impacted recent vintages, as well as how their biodynamic practices have helped protect their vineyards from the warming climate in Bordeaux.
One of the greats
James knows his wine and brings on some great guests!