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    I couldn’t have picked a better time to create a Top 100 list for Napa than in 2016. What a year it’s been for America’s most famous wine region, as most wines I scored were from the glorious 2012 and 2013 vintages. I tasted about 1,000 wines from Napa this year over four different trips. JamesSuckling.com is committed to the region and its unique wines and fantastic terroir and microclimates. We believe in the future of Napa wines in both America and abroad, particularly in Asia where I spend five months working each year and have two full-time staff in Hong Kong. That’s why I also now live part of the year in St. Helena so that I can keep my hand on the region’s pulse.


    Gorgeous Napa weather during one of our vineyard visits.

    It won’t be a surprise that Opus One Napa Valley 2013 is our Napa Valley Red of 2016. It was also my Wine of the Year in 2016. The 100-point Bordeaux blend highlights what is great about the best Napa reds at the moment: It has a classic balance and structure that recalls the valley’s past alongside a new style of precise and ripe fruit full of irresistible energy and drinkability. It also shows that the region is ready to move on from overblown, jammy fruit with too much alcohol. That is not the way forward.

    The Dominus Napa Valley 2013 is a close second (also a perfect wine). This bottle, too, shows its history and pedigree from one of the founding-father’s vineyards. What a wine with such beauty and class.

    The No. 3—Realm Cellars Napa Valley Oakville Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard 2013—and No. 4 —Paul Hobbs Napa Valley Oakville Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard 2013—both hail from a legendary valley floor vineyard, To Kolan. These wines show the true character of the soil, offering stone and oyster shell undertones to the fresh fruit. This is a departure from the many jammy, fruit bombs I’ve encountered from here that always masked the terroir.

    Continuum Napa Valley Continuum 2013 is at No. 5. This bottle shows the superb quality and intensity of mountain grown grapes. I love Pritchard Hill reds, and this Bordeaux blend shows such complexity and structure yet a balance and freshness. This will age beautifully, but it’s also hard to resist opening now.

    The No. 10 Dominus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Napanook 2013 is simply one of the best value, top scoring Napa reds out in 2016.

    The No. 10 Dominus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Napanook 2013 is simply one of the best value, top scoring Napa reds out in 2016.

    The list continues with many classics as well as relative newcomers. I tried to pick wines that excited me not so much for their flamboyance but for their beauty, complexity and balance. Drinkability, of course, is paramount and I think great wines are great from the beginning, whether from barrel or from bottle and through the years in the cellar. I mostly kept to picking one wine per winery on this list. The No. 10 Dominus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Napanook 2013 is the exception. It’s simply one of the best value top scoring Napa reds out in 2016.

    Next year’s tasting should be just as exciting with the release of so many great 2014s from Napa Valley. I’ve had many from barrel and already they’re showing inspiring freshness and a fruitiness that gives them a more linear profile than the structured 2013s or ripe and fruity 2012s. Napa is on a roll with a trio of great vintages and fabulous wines—and we look forward to spending even more time with these great wines. —James Suckling, CEO/Editor

    http://www.jamessuckling.com/wine-tasting-reports/top-100-reds-napa-valley-2016/The Full list: Click here


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    My Today


    JamesSuckling.com organizes some of the best premium wine events in the United States, Europe, and Asia. From the Great Wines of the World Hong Kong and Great Wines of Italy Bangkok to Bordeaux Confidential in New York and Great Wines of the Andes in Miami, tens of thousands of wine lovers and wine trade attend our events, which offer a unique combination of wine, food, and music. Venues range from the noble palaces of Florence, Italy, to cool music clubs in New York City. The focus, of course, is on great wines, all of which are curated by James Suckling himself and must be rated 90 points or more. That said, enjoying and appreciating wine is more than just points– it's the whole experience, and that's what our events are all about. For inquiries, please email us.

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    James Suckling, 58, is one of today’s leading wine critics whose reviews are read and respected by wine lovers, collectors, and wine trade worldwide. He is a resident of Hong Kong and is also the wine editor for Asia Tatler and its nine luxury magazines in the region, including Hong Kong TatlerChina TatlerSingapore Tatler, and Thailand Tatler.

    Suckling spent nearly 30 years as Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of The Wine Spectator, and as European Editor of Cigar Aficionado. On his departure from the magazines, Forbes called the Los Angeles-born writer “one of the world’s most powerful wine critics.”

    In late 2010, Suckling launched JamesSuckling.com, a site that evolved from him seeing a need for wine to be communicated in a more modern way. The site offers subscribers high-definition video content that reports on and rates the best wines from around the world, with a focus on Italy, Bordeaux, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Napa Valley, Australia and New Zealand as well as Napa Valley. Interviews conducted in vineyards and in cellars with winemakers give viewers a firsthand account of the wines and allow for a more spontaneous style. The site attracts viewers from more than 110 countries, with the largest audiences in North America, Hong Kong, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and France.

    Suckling is a designer with the famous French crystal manufacturer, Lalique. His Lalique 100 points Collection by James Suckling features eight different glasses as well as two decanters and emphasizes “functionality and beauty.” His most popular glass in the line is the 100-points universal glass, which can be used for all wines: red, white or rosé. He designed a wine briefcase with the fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo that holds four of his universal glasses.

    His first documentary film, Cigars: The Heart and Soul of Cuba, was released in autumn 2011 to much acclaim. It was screened in December 2011 during the 33rd Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba, and was officially selected for the 15th Annual Sonoma Film Festival in Sonoma, Calif., as well as the Independent Film Quarterly Film & Webisode Festival in Los Angeles and the Bogota Film Festival. Suckling hosted and produced Cannubi: A Vineyard Kissed by God for his second documentary film in early 2013. The film has garnered praise worldwide after a premiere screening in Hong Kong and on his website and was officially selected for the 16th Annual Sonoma Film Festival in Sonoma, Calif.

    Suckling organizes major luxury wine events in Asia, Europe, and North America. His Great Wines events in Hong Kong, Thailand, and United States showcase great wines from regions like Italy, Bordeaux, Argentina and Chile. The event features great music from Grammy Award winning violinist and composer Rob Moose and Australian rocker Surahn Sidhu, formerly of the band Empire of the Sun. Great Wines of Italy events held in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and New York City saw more than 100 of the country’s best winemakers pouring their top selections, and Great Wines of Bordeaux in Hong Kong featured 45 of the region’s most outstanding chateaux. He also created his high-end Florence, Italy, event Divino Tuscany with IMG Artists, the leading agent and events company for classical music and Sting. The event showcased 50 of the best Tuscan wine producers with great music and superb food in some of the most exclusive venues in Florence.

    James is also a highly regarded public speaker. Just recently, he was the featured wine expert for Wine Day in China with Tmall (Alibaba) on September 9, 2016. The on-line commerce platform created a homepage for the wine critic, and James spoke at press conference in Shanghai about the event, following Zhang Yong, CEO of Alibaba Group. More than 100 million people participated in Wine Day.

    Since he started his career as a wine critic, Suckling estimates he has tasted close to 200,000 wines. It all began in 1981 when he responded to an ad in the Los Angeles Times where the fledgling Wine Spectator was looking for an assistant editor. He was hired, and four years later, Suckling moved to Paris to establish Wine Spectator’s European bureau, which put him in the center of European wine production and cemented his relationships with a variety of vintners, as well as contributed to his expanding knowledge of wines throughout the continent.

    Suckling is the father of two children, Jack and Isabel Suckling. As a British choirgirl, Isabel signed a record contract with Decca in 2010 at age 12, making her one of the youngest classical recording artist to date. In 2012, she released a single on Robin Gibb’s classical album “Titanic Requiem,” and she now continues to preform at many of her father’s wine events. Jack works as a wine merchant in London. Suckling is married to Marie Kim-Suckling, a former Hong Kong-based wine merchant originally from Seoul who is the senior vice president at

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    Pro Me

    JamesSuckling.com reflects my three decades of experience as a journalist and a wine critic. From tasting notes and videos to blogs and events, this website focuses on the great wines of the world including Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, and Argentina. 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 year as well. Those on location are generally not blind, but I bring out the paper bags for the larger, more organized ones.

    I 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, I 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 25 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 I rate 90 points or more is outstanding (A). It’s a wine I want to drink a glass of and is an outstanding purchase. If I rate a wine 95 points or more (A+), it is a must buy and a bottle that I want to drink in its entirety! If I 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.

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