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    Bordeaux 2020 wine scores – James Suckling versus AI

    by Pekka Nuikki / Editor in Chief of Fine Wine magazines

    Can artificial intelligence taste” and evaluate wines as the best wine critics? – A fascinating idea that came to my mind last year, and with the Bordeaux vintage 2020 we had an opportunity to test it for the first time.

    Now that most critics have published their reviews and scores, there is an opportunity to compare them to the scores created by the tastingbooks artificial intelligence in March 2021.

    For this first comparison, I chose James Suckling, a wine critic I greatly respect. With 40 years of experience at the top of the wine world, he represents the most superior personal knowledge and professionalism, especially when compared to other esteemed critics today. Only Jancis Robinson and Michel Bettane have, in my opinion, a similarly meritorious and experiential history.

    -How does the artificial intelligence of tastingbook evaluate wines?

    Tastingbook.com rated Bordeauxs 200 best known wines from 2020 vintage without tasting them. The points were formed by the tastingbook algorithm, which took into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best known wine critics and thousands of tastingbook's professionals and users. It also observed the last 49 Bordeaux vintages (1980-2019) – the climatic conditions of all those growing seasons, the quality and the appreciation of the producers and their track record on producing wines in vintages similar to 2020. Based on these metrics and tastingbooks 60,000+ wine reviews, the tastingbooks artificial intelligence predicted the score for the Bordeaux 2020 wines. This process generated the predicted score for the each new wine.

    -Well, how did the Tastingbook artificial intelligence scores compare to scores of James Suckling?

    The results were surprising. The scores of the 50 best Bordeaux 2020 wines formed by the Tastingbook AI were published at the end of April weeks before that James Suckling launched his scores. They were almost identical to Tastingbook AI’s! 

    It was particularly gratifying that our artificial intelligence also identified the quality of Château Hosanna, Château Trotanoy, Château Pavie, Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Château La Fleur-Pétrus.

    I have to congratulate James and his taste buds, since after all, he was compared against the artificial intelligence, which had at its disposal the wine reviews of thousands of professionals from almost 50 years.

    Was it just coincidence or can Tastingbook Al really rate the wines like a top wine critic? In comparison with  James Suckling’s scores of the top 100 wines, 47 wines received the same score, 48 wines had one point difference and only 5 wines the difference was 2-3 points. 

    The future will shows us, but there is a possibility that artificial intelligence will be among the most professional and unbiased elite of wine critics in the future.

    Tastingbook.com will publish the ratings for the new vintages months before other critics in the future. Will it affect the evaluation, pricing and desirability of wines in the future? – Perhaps, but it cannot replace James Sucklings taste buds, since without them and the tasting experiences of thousands of other wine professionals, artificial intelligence is just an empty algorithm without data.

     

    A list of the best Bordeaux 2020 wines by both tastingbook.coms AI and James Suckling: 

                                        Tastingbook AI  / James Suckling

     

    Château La Conseillante 2020   100p.   98-99p.

    Château Haut-Brion 2020           100p.   97-98p.

    Château Hosanna 2020                99p.   99-100p.

    Château Angelus 2020                 99p.    98-99p.

    Château de Valandraud 2020       99p     97-98p.

    Château Margaux 2020                99p     99-100p.

    Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2020        99p       97-98p.

    Château Lafite-Rothschild 2020                 99p.      99-100p.

    Château La Fleur-Pétrus 2020                   99p.      99-100p.

    Château Trotanoy 2020                              99p.      99-100p.

    Château Pavie 2020                                   99p.      99-100p.

    Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2020               99p.      98-99p.

    Vieux Château Certan 2020                        99p.      98-99p.

    Château Mouton-Rothchild 2020                 99p.      99-100p.

    Château de Figeac 2020                             98p.      97-98p.

    Château LEglise-Clinet 2020                      98p.      98-99p.

    Château Clinet 2020                                    98p.      96-97p.

    Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse 

    de Lalande 2020                                           98p.      97-98p.

    Château La Mondotte 2020                          98p.      97-98p.

    Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2020                 98p.       99-100p.

    Château Léoville-Poyferré 2020                   97p.       96-97p.

    Château Le Gay  2020                                  97p.       98-99p.

    Château Petit-Village  2020                           97p        97-98p.

    Château Rauzan-Ségla                                 97p        97-98p.

    Château Léoville Las Cases  2020                97p        98-99p.

    Château Léoville-Barton  2020                      97p.       96-97p.

    Château Cos dEstournel 2020                      97p.       97-98p.

    Château Trottevieille 2020                             97p.       98-99p.

    Château Certan de May 2020                        97p        95-96p.

    Château Troplong-Mondot 2020                     97p       98-99p.

    Château Calon Ségur 2020                            96p.      95-96p.

    Château La Confession  2020                        96p.      94-96p.

     

     

    Vintage: 1982 Bordeaux

     

    The 1982 vintage in Bordeaux changed the wine world as well as changed my life. It was the first vintage I tasted from barrel as a young wine writer working for the American magazine The Wine Spectator, and I was amazed how gorgeous the quality of a young red could be from barrel. 

    I remember the first barrel samples I tasted during the summer of 1983 at Chateau Prieure-Lichine with the late wine author and vintner Alexis Lichine. The wines were so fruity with soft and rich tannins. They seemed too drinkable for a young wine, yet Lichine who had over forty years of experience tasting young wines told me the wines were “exceptional” and “some of the greatest young wines ever produced.”

    He had invited some of his winemaking pals from the Medoc to a lunch at his chateau following the tasting. And he kept telling them, which included such names as Bruno Prats (then Cos d’Estournel), Anthony Barton (Leoville-Barton) and Jean-Eugene Borie (Ducru-Beaucaillou) that young writers like myself were the future of the region and that they had to make me understand that 1982 was a great year. He was upset that the New York Timesand some other magazines had come out saying that the new vintage was not outstanding do to it seemingly early drinkability.

    It was also a time an American lawyer in his mid-30s began writing full time on wine, creating a newsletter called The Wine Advocate. Many say Robert Parker built his career on advocating the greatness of Bordeaux’s 1982 vintage, although he obviously did much more.

    More importantly, 1982 vintage marked a big change in the way Bordeaux was produced. It underlined fruit and ripe tannins in reds as well as a slightly higher level of alcohol and lower, or less strong acidity – higher pH. This is what gave the wines such wonderful texture, or drinkability in their youth. 

    It was a big change from most vintages before 1982 that produced hard and tannic wines that needed years, even decades to soften. The 1982 vintage became a model vintage for red Bordeaux in the future, and arguably for the wine world at large. Think of all the fruit-forward reds that are produced today in the world – for better or for worse. Alcohols are at least two, sometimes three or four degrees higher. Tannins are stronger yet riper. And natural acidities are lower. Chapitalization – adding sugar to the fermenting grape must to increase alcohol – seems a thing of the past.

    “Young wines are so drinkable now,” said Alexander Thienpont, the winemaker of Pomerol’s Vieux-Chateau-Certan and Le Pin. The latter made its reputation on early drinkability. “It’s what people expect in a modern wine today.”

    I believe some of the change with the 1982 was due to the “California” like growing conditions the Bordelias spoke of at the time. The summer was extremely hot and sunny. The harvest was warm and mostly clear of precipitation. Grape yields were high with many of the best wine properties making more wine per hectare than set by French authorities. In fact, the late Jean Pierre Moueix of Chateau Petrus always told me that the 1982 vintage would have been at the same level as the 1945 or 1949 vintage if yields had been lower.

    Yet, the experience of the growing season and harvest in 1982 made a whole new generation of winemakers in the region understand the importance of picking grapes later and riper. They understood early on when wine critics such as Parker and myself as well as members of the US wine trade enthused so much about the 1982 reds from barrel. This also was the beginning of the popularization of barrel scores used to purchase wines. 

    The US market was the biggest market to buy top notch Bordeaux with the 1982 vintage. It began a decade of intense buying of Bordeaux in the states with consumers buying first growth and second growth as well as Pomerols and St. Emilion. Americans regaled in the wine’s juiciness and beauty. They also made a shit load of money if they held on to the wines in sold them later. For example, most of the first growths sold for about $40 a bottle in 1983 as futures and some are now as much as $3,500 a bottle. Prices for 1982 are down slightly now,  but the price appreciation over 30 years is impressive after 30 years.

    So is the quality of the wines still for the most part. I am lucky enough to drink top 1982 on a regular basis, and the best ones never cease to amaze me with their generous and complex fruit and polished, ripe tannins. Bottle variation can be a problem because many of the top names have been bought and sold and stored all over the world, but on a whole it is a treat to drink a great 1982.  And the vintage always reminds me of my beginnings in the wine world

     

     

     

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    My Today

    JAMES SUCKLING - THE WINNER OF THE BWW COMPETITION - BEST WINE CRITIC OF THE WORLD -AWARD

    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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    Me

    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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    Digital Me

    THE TOP 100 REDS OF NAPA VALLEY 2016

    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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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  18 Wines  from  4 Producers 

DRC Montrachet 1990 / So dense and layered with an amazing character of apples, cream, dried pineapples and apricots. It's full-bodied but not heavy, and there's incredible energy in the wine that shocks you to the bone. Goes on for what seemed like hours on the palate. This is one of the greatest dry whites I have ever consumed.

1m 12d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  33 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Niepoort Redoma Branco 2019 / A bright, vivid white with sliced-lemon, green-apple and some white-pineapple aromas and flavors. It’s medium-bodied with a tight palate and a bright, vivid finish. Stone and lemon rind at the end with just a hint of lemon curd. Drink now.

2m 17d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  19 Wines  from  2 Producers 

Harlan Estate 2018 / 100 points / Classy earth, oak and bay-leaf character on the nose, together with dark fruit, such as currants and blackberries. Forest flowers, too. Full-to medium-bodied, linear and tight with coolness and freshness. Mint and spearmint to the dark fruit. Lasts a long time. Such balance and intensity. Tight now, but great energy and length this year. Incredibly sophisticated and seductive. A joy to taste now, but try in 2025.

3m 3d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  27 Wines  from  10 Producers 

Petrus 2015 / The aromas to this are a reference for Pomerol with truffles, black olives, black licorice and dark fruit. Even brown sugar. Full-bodied, layered and multi-dimensional. Chocolate underlines the character above. The perfect tannin texture, length and balance make you think you're dreaming. All about harmony and beauty. Love to taste it now but needs at least five or six years. 100p

6m 4d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  25 Wines  from  5 Producers 

Château Angelus 2018 / The aromas are incredibly complex with dark berries, elderberries, bay leaves, cloves and tile, follow through to a full body with layers of creamy and lightly dusty tannins that deliver a lingering finish and great attention to detail. The flavors range from black fruit to earth and stones. It’s reserved and poised with great intensity and power, in a toned and formed mode. One for the cellar. Try after 2026.
 

8m 7d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  18 Wines  from  4 Producers 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 1959 / Another perfect bottle. This has been a long-time favorite with mint and fresh basil, as well as currants and dried fruits on the nose. It turns to dried flowers. Full-bodied with spices, berries, and light eucalyptus character. Christmas cake too. Full body with velvety tannins. This bottle was almost mid-shoulder height, but it was a perfect wine.

9m 24d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  21 Wines  from  8 Producers 

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte 2018 / This is incredibly complex with hazelnut, currant, berry and dried-flower character. The impression of a vat of fermenting cabernet. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a long, soft and silky finish. Shows the essence of the fruit here. Fascinating. Layered and complex.
Barrel Sample: 98-99

11m 7d ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  26 Wines  from  15 Producers 

Château d' Yquem 2001 / 100 points / What a pure wine, with honey, caramel, cooked apple, bon bon, and pear tart. Dried apricots and peaches develop with time in the glass. What a palate, it is very sweet and rich at the impact, but then it’s dense and opulent like a Grand Cru Burgundy, think Montrachet. Apples, honey, and pineapples with hints of mango on the palate. This is an incredible wine, a real dream, a legend. 150 grams of RS

1y 3m ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  25 Wines  from  12 Producers 

Masseto 2012 / Fantastic aromas of lavender, rosemary, violets and currants. Full body, a wonderful concentration of fruit yet tense and taunt energy. The new wood is exposed now but will become integrated and polished. Give it three or four years together. The pure merlot magic is there. The 2011 was a perfect wine, and this is very close indeed. Drink in 2019. 99 points

1y 10m ago

James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  9 Producers 

Krug Vintage 2002 / 100 points / The much-anticipated 2002 has impeccable detail and depth with a lot of chalky, stony and flinty elements on the nose as well as a very fresh edge. The nose is very complex and wound up tight but presents itself as very integrated and compressed. There are aromas of lemon rind, lime juice and a lime custard all at once, complemented in turn by a super-restrained hazelnut-like edge. Undertones of brown mushrooms, chalky minerals and lemon leaf. The palate has a core of sizzlingly intense, concentrated chardonnay framed whitin a powerful phenolic structure that will underpin the future of this Champagne. Flawlessly fresh and as perfect as it gets. Give this time as it needs to settle: best from 2020 and then for another decade beyond.

1y 11m ago

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