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Suckling: Spectator split was ‘amicable’

James Suckling’s departure from Wine Spectator was ‘totally amicable’, the critic said today.

Speaking from Los Angeles, the highly-respected critic told decanter.com he left the magazine which he helped found to ‘pursue other projects’.

‘You get to a point where you say “Now what?” I worked at Spectator for 30 years and it’s been great. Now I’ve got some cool projects for the future.’

Suckling would not be drawn on what those projects are, though they include ‘a lot of public speaking in Europe and the Far East’ and new ways of distributing his tasting notes.

He said he will stay in Italy and will continue to travel widely.

‘There is no better time to go out and explore the wine world,’ he said.

He would also not be drawn on the extraordinarily ungracious nature of his send-off from Wine Spectator, by which his former boss Marvin Shanken said he would be missed, but not that much: indeed, things would actually improve.

‘We are very fortunate to have significant depth in our editorial team,’ Shanken said. ‘In fact, moving these tastings to New York, where we have a larger staff and better logistical control, will allow us to strengthen our coverage of these important wine regions.’

Suckling said he had not spoken to anyone about how his areas – Bordeaux, Italy and Port – would be covered.

‘I read about it like everyone else did. I’m not surprised – they are a good team and super well-organised. They will send someone over from New York for En Primeur.’

As for his career as a cigar critic, Suckling said in a tweet that that would go on.

‘I will continue to cover cigars as always and in a more meaningful way. I am smoking one now planning an exciting future.’

Finally Suckling hinted there could be a winemaking project in the offing. ‘All wine critics have a dream to make wine. It gets under your skin. Whatever happens I’m really excited about the future. Watch this space.’

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Written by Adam Lechmere

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