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Meet the Maker: An Introduction

James Suckling

Lesson time 05:38 min

Every bottle has a story. Meet the maker behind the historic Marchesi Antinori, and learn about the winemaking family's role in creating the legendary Super Tuscan Tignanello.

James Suckling
Teaches Wine Appreciation
Flavor, aroma, and structure—Learn from wine master James Suckling as he teaches you to appreciate the stories in every bottle.
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I've met winemakers all over the world. But because we're having an immersive Tuscan wine journey, I wanted to extend that privilege to you in meeting a winemaker whose family has been making wine since the 1300s, and who is arguably the most famous wine family in Italy. And now at the mantle is Albiera Antinori. Could you tell us how this all fits into the context of your family making wines for 600 years? - We have a very long history. I mean, sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I think, my god, I mean, it's kind of a-- not a burden, but something that we have to respect and we have to keep on going ahead, teaching our children, making sure that the land that we've had, we received from our ancestors, that we take care of it. I think there are a number of reasons why all of this is still here. It's the values. It's the passion. It's the interest. It's the respect for the land. And then there is also a bit of luck that, for so many generations, this has come across and arrived at our days. - But your wines from this particular estate, particularly Tignanello has a special part of your story, a part of all of Italy-- the revolution in winemaking, modern wines. Tell us about that. - Well, Tignanello, for our winery, has it represented really the change of Step first vintage was '71. It was a moment where wines from this area were produced more for quantity than for quality. It was made really not with the objective of long-lasting, of great wines. So my father and grandfather decided to help the Sangiovese with some foreign varieties, in the case of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, plant it in a different way, make something that would be well-represented here with a piece of land that was there. So when this wine came out, it bared the name of the vineyard, which was unusual. And it made everybody realize that this area really could produce international class wines. I mean, it was like ringing a bell and saying, hello, we're here. This is our land. This is our history. So it was really a moment of great enthusiasm and great demonstration of what this part of the world really could produce. - So when people tasting Tignanello, what do you think they should be looking for? - Well, the pure quality is always what there has to be in a great wine, I mean, at absolute level. Having the Sangiovese as the main variety, it represents, really, our tradition. Tignanello is really a wine that has a taste that is recognizable across the vintages and across the years because it's that piece of land, this estate that gives wines that are elegant, at the same time powerful, that are silky, and that there is a very distinctive nose in it that really is recognizable always, because it's the terroir. Then there is a mix of Sangiovese for the tradition and Cabernet for the innovation. So it's just something that works well together. And it really makes this wine unique, together with its brother, Solaia, which is ...

Discover the story in every bottle

Called one of the “world’s most powerful wine critics,” James Suckling has tasted more than 200,000 wines over the past 40 years. In his wine tasting MasterClass, James tours legendary Tuscan vineyards and teaches you to explore the stories, history, and people behind every bottle. Deepen your knowledge of the properties in each sip, cultivate your passion, and choose, order, and pair wines with confidence.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Very good experience. Enforced concepts and ideas I have learned over the years.

This class was well instructed, and contained numerous helpful tips and lessons on growing ones knowledge and appreciation of wine. More than anything, this lesson serves as a source of inspiration to go learn more about wine and to enjoy your next glass in a new, different way.

It has helped me be more aware of the finer points in wine collecting and tasting! Thank You

I used to hold up my wine glass to the light and now i know that's wrong. More importantly, this class has provided a level of education necessary to help me understand better why I like the wines that I prefer.


Maureen M.

Cool woman, great info. Had to stop watching because the camera movement is giving me a headache.

Omar D.

If this tasting went on for a couple of hours, they'd be on that table dancing while talking about how the wine feels on the "palette".

simon G.

This isn't the first time I'm hearing that cork wines have oxygen exchanges with the outside of the bottle. However I'm struggling to figure out how that exchange can happen given that the cork is normally sealed too. Isn't that an old myth that lived throughout time?

A fellow student

I really enjoyed this but I’m wondering the best way to train my palette. I’ve started to buy wines around £30 but I’m struggling to tell the difference like the students can here so I don’t know where I’m going wrong.

Andrew Stephen L.

I loved this lesson... and seeing wines being tasted... i’ve Seen wine tasting advertised and planning to try it at some point... or maybe I will wait for the summer and try to get to a session in France 🇫🇷 or Italy 🇮🇹 x For now I will be meeting friends for a BABOB Party (Bring A Bottle Of Bubbly) Champagne or Prosecco or a sparkling wine🥂 🍾 x it’s a great way to support a friends new house or business because after they have set ups their place they may have little money to organize lots of great wine or food,and with a BABOB Party the guests bring a bottle or two each and it saves the host. Some people just turn up with a dessert 🍮 or flowers 🌸 or’s a party 🎉 everyone’s welcome...just nice to be together x 💕 x

Valerie B.

I find myself being selfish wanting to know exactly the names of the wine for my own use. Perhaps the workbook gives the names of the wines but I can't seem to download it. This is an ongoing masterclass problem. What I would like to do is have the very same wines in front of me, while listening to the comments. That would be three dimensional, sound, taste and visual. I think it would be a perfect scenario.

A fellow student

How to be a wine snob 101. Not happy with this lesson. There is a lot of judgement here not a lot of education.

Norman G.

‪@JamesSuckling James is there any way you can help me squeeze a couple into your SFO event? I got my tickets early since we come every year but we really wanted them to come and it looks like it’s sold out. ‬

A fellow student

I loved the interaction with the students. Very fresh approach. They are the future after all.

Alma G.

I’m enjoying the class and I’m especially appreciative of the descriptions. I’ve tasted a few wines but didn’t quite know how to describe why I liked them. I wish we could have a list of the wines being tasted here.