American wine critic James Suckling has been awarded the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by French president Emmanuel Macron for his decades of work covering and reviewing French wines as a journalist and a critic.
This would make him the only wine critic based in Asia to receive such an honor. Previously, Robert Parker in 1999 received the Legion d’Honneur from former president Jacques Chirac, a rare honor for a foreigner.
Writing on social media to announce the news last Thursday, Suckling enthused, “It is truly a great honor for me. France is my first love in wine and I want to thank my father for teaching me about the joys and wonder of great French wine at an early age in Los Angeles. Thanks to everyone for their help and encouragement along the way.”
“James always has a ref ined and balanced judgement, nourished by the wealth of his multiple experiences. As he likes to say, ‘wine is like music’: enjoyment does not come only from knowledge but also from its ability to arouse emotions,” the French Consulate added in an announcement.
Suckling started out as a young journalist and later joined Wine Spectator and worked his way up to become its senior editor and European bureau chief before starting his own namesake wine media platform, JamesSuckling.com, in 2010.
Suckling is particularly known for his wine reviews on France’s Bordeaux and Italy, as well as New World’s Chile.
In 2018, he was bestowed the knighthood of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Order of Star of Italy) earlier this year for his continuous support and promotion of Italian wines in Asia.