Participants called the Great Wines of Italy event at Saint Bart's Church in New York City on May 8 and 9 "one of the most elegant wine events ever," yet it was the selection of more than 300 amazing wines from 107 of Italy's best producers that stole the show. More than 1,000 people attended the two-day event, which was organized by JamesSuckling.com and Zachys wine merchants.
The first day's Grand Tasting went off without a hitch as wine lovers swarmed the church for the walk-around tasting. About 600 chairs and pews had to be removed that morning to make room for the tasting tables and hundreds of cases of wines. Italian vintners seemed surprised that a functioning Episcopal Church could also be used as a tasting venue! Up to three different wines per winery were served, and the evening offered a unique chance to speak with the producers who were pouring their wines, as well as taste some of Italy’s best offerings. James Suckling personally selected all the wines at the tasting, focusing on those with 90 points or more ratings.
The Wine Collector’s Dinner was an experience like none other. Guests were treated to a three-course candlelight Italian dinner complimented by magnums from the cellars of each participating winery. Some other delightful wines showed up as well, since attendees were encouraged to bring wine from their own collection to share. One collector poured two magnums of 1990 Sassicaia that he brought from his home in Montreal by private plane.
The dinner also featured a charity auction for Robin Hood – one of the top charities in New York City working to stamp out poverty. With lots of fantastic wines and dinner experiences up for the bidding, the sale raised more than $37,000. The 15 lots included weekends in Tuscan villas to magnums of special bottles signed by owners and winemakers.
James’ 15-year-old daughter Isabel Suckling, a UK recording artist with two classical music albums under her belt, preformed as well. She captivated all in attendance with her breathtaking performance of such pieces as “Ave Maria” (Schubert) and “Et Incarnatus Est” (Mozart). Her friends from the popular bad Bon Iver accompanied her – Rob Moose (violin and guitar) and CJ Camerieri (trumpet). They also played a cover of John Mayer's “Daughters.”
Great Wines of Italy in New York City was a great success to say the least, and we at JamesSuckling.com were pleased to help organize such an experience with Zachys for all to enjoy. Many thanks also to Bellavista, Lalique, Sparea water, Ameriprise, and Robin Hood as sponsors. We look forward to the event next year.