James Suckling receives hononary citizenship of Montalcino

American wine critic James Suckling has received honorary citizenship of Montalcino from the municipal council in acknowledgement of his years spent rating the surrounding region’s wines.

James Suckling being awarded an honory citizenship of Montalcino in January

Announcing the citizenship on his website, Suckling wrote: “I am elated that I was one of the first to report on what was effectively the birth of a unique premium wine appellation, which has now captured the attention of the world.

“And I appreciate the city of Montalcino so much for awarding me this honorary citizenship and acknowledging that the spotlight that I helped cast on their fair city, as well as changing the lives and fortunes of thousands of people as the economy grew”.

The wine critic first travelled to Montalcino in 1983, about two years after he joined Wine Spectator, when the region was still “under the radar to say the least” as he put it, except for the big names like Franco Biondi Santi.

The quality of the 1997 Brunellos was among the main reasons that convinced the wine critic to leave London and move to Tuscany, where he has lived for many years since then. 

As European Bureau chief for the American magazine, he was the lead critic to rate Italian wines for the US’s expanding consumer wine market at the time.

Today, the US has become Brunello di Montalcino’s biggest export market.

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