Wine Heaven: James Suckling’s Great Wines of Italy #NYC #Winetasting

Highlights from Great Wines of Italy, NY

Great Wines of Italy is a wine tasting event, organized by James Suckling, that features “114 of the finest wineries Italy has to offer, together with tasting notes on some of their best vintages.”  Each of the featured wines were curated by James Suckling and received ratings of  90 points or higher. Many of the Italian regions were represented, including Tuscany, Piedmont and Sicily.  Additionally, the wines were from producers both big and small, some well-known, some lesser known.  Thus far, for 2016, the Great Wines of Italy wine-tasting event was held in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
James Suckling is CEO of and a respected, world renown wine critic.  He is also the wine editor of the Asian Tatler magazines, a writer, an international wine event organizer, and film producer. (Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba and Cannubi: A Vineyard Kissed by God). At the Great Wines of Italy event, attendees had the opportunity to experience wine tasting in a James Sucklings 100 Points Wine Glass by Lalique, which they were able to keep. The glasses are apart of the Lalique 100 POINTS Collection of stemware by James Suckling.  What a treat!

Zachys also partnered with James Suckling to deliver the goods for the Great Wines of Italy event and for subsequent orders.  This wine and liquor store, located in Scarsdale, NY is a “true destination for premium wine and spirits tastings,” and they also have an impressive collection of wine and spirits.

Now that we are finally coming down from our Italian “wine flu,” we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites from the tasting event.

The Wining Hour’s Favorites:

Nino Franco
Rustico Proseco

Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Rustico NV (91 points) This was our first stop, and as lovers of prosecco, we were off to a great start.  This truly set the tone for a wonderful Italian wine tasting!  Nino Franco is one of the oldest wineries in the Valdobbiadene wine region. The Superiore Rustico was absolutely refreshing, creamy and delicious.   It was difficult not to return to this table for glass after glass.  Made from 100% Glera grapes.

2010 Banfi Brunello Riserva

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura Riserva 2010 (99 points) This Brunello was captivating and demanded attention.  In fact, it was an outstanding example of everything a Brunello should be-rich, bold, full of body, powerful and enduring. Full of chocolate, dark berry flavors and leather.  This bodacious Brunello dances down the palate and speaks to the heart.

Cusamano Sàgana

Cusumano Sicilia Tenuta San Giacomo Sàgana 2013
(93 points)  This was a delicious, fruity Sicilian Nero d’Avola that is elegant and rich with a persistent finish.

Donna Fugata

Donnafugata Sicilia Mille e Una Notte 2010 (94 points) This was another Sicilian Nero d’Avola that was full of fruit, intense, structured and complex.  In addition, Donnafugata Grillo Sicilia Sursur 2014 (90 points) was one of the few white wines I tasted and enjoyed at this event.


Contratto Piemonte For England Rosé Pas Dosé 2011 (95 points) Ahhh…a bubbly that we could drink all day, every day.   This pink sparkler is made from 100% old vine Pinot Noir, which makes it a Blanc de Noir.  It was dry, delicious and smelled of spicy baked apples.  Contratto is on our list for our next visit to northern Italy.  Contratto Rosé Pas Dosé is one that all lovers of bubbly or sparkling wine will enjoy.

2012 Le Pupille Saffredi 

Fattoria Le Pupille Toscana Saffredi 2012 (100 points) Although all of these wines were expertly selected, when asked for his recommendation, James Suckling specifically pointed me in Le Pupille’s direction.  Of course, we were not disappointed.  How could we be? As a lover of Toscana, I was surprised that I had never heard of Saffredi. Blueberry, rosemary, licorice, rich berry fruits–this full-bodied Tuscan blend has it all. According to James Suckling, “It’s the greatest Saffredi ever, cementing its reputation as the Lafite of Tuscany. This needs at least five years in bottle but it’s entrancing to drink now. A must-buy for Super Tuscan lovers.”

Luce Della Vita
2013 Lucente

Luce Della Vite Toscana Lucente 2013  (92 points) This awesome Super Tuscan is a blend of Merlot and Sangiovese. It is full-bodied, with lots of fruity tannins. We also tasted Luce Della Vite Toscana 2012 (94 points) and plan to add both of these to our wine cellar.  One can never have enough sangiovese.

2010 Ruffino
Chianti Classico

Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione 2010
(95 points) Spicy black cherry flavors for all Chianti lovers.  Smooth finish.

Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010 (97 points) This Brunello immediately caught my attention and made me do a double-take.  This one must be added to my collection. It is packed with rich, dark fruit flavors.  The nose was intoxicating with spicy dark cherries, licorice and vanilla.  In fact, we still smell it now.  Full-bodied with a lingering finish.

Castello Romitoria Brunello 2010

2012 Antinori Superiore
Guado al Tasso

Antinori Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso 2012 (96 points)
This is a well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, with lots of blackberries, black current, black coffee and spice.  Delicious!

While the aforementioned wines certainly do not cover all of the ones we enjoyed at this event, we chose to further our relationship with these particular wines.

Great Wines of Italy provided a fantastic networking opportunity, as it facilitated the meeting and greeting of many top Italian winemakers, importers and distributors. Great Wines of Italy was tastefully done–from the tasty tidbit accompaniments to the expert showcasing of one outstanding wine to the next. This was, by far, a grape…or great wine-tasting experience. We be certain to attend future events.

Also read about our experience at James Sucklings Great Wines of the Andes, featuring Argentina and Chile.

To stay abreast of the latest and greatest in the industry, be sure to follow @JamesSuckling and @Zachys on Twitter!

Have you tasted any of these wines? What is your favorite Italian wine?

About The Wining Hour

The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday’s at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)
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Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique ( that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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