We were better off when things were worse: James Suckling joins forces with Gambero Rosso

Above: James Suckling via his Facebook.

“We were better off when things were worse.” That’s what Italian wine blogger Antonio Tomacelli wrote today on Intravino describing his feelings about the news that James Suckling will be joining the editorial staff of the Gambero Rosso brand. (!!!)

Si stava meglio quando si stava peggio is one of those perennial Italian sayings, expressing the nostalgia (and consequent irony) for a time before the hegemony of capitalist consumerism fatally grasped the Italian people in its merciless grip (in the wake of the “economic miracle” of the 1960s when American culture and mores began to dominate the ethos of the Italian people).

There’s another expression in Italy that describes precisely my reaction to the news of Suckling’s new gig: non ho parole.


19 thoughts on “We were better off when things were worse: James Suckling joins forces with Gambero Rosso

  1. No. Way.

    Though I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me. Gambero Rosso already seems to have a tenuous grip at best on vinous typicity or soul.

    Maybe it’ll be a good thing; Gambero Rosso’s relevance has been eroding for years, perhaps now even the last few italians reading the GR will stop following their ratings.

  2. Blasphemy! Great, now there will be even more Italian wines made in a Californian style with French grapes.

    RIP: Indigenous Varietals

  3. gambero rosso has long touted spoofy, overextracted, goopy shit like what you’d expect to spend tons of money for on east 16th st. Will this really cause that to change that much?

  4. We actually had a long discussion about this at dinner tonight and my lovely wife brought up a great point. Ten or twenty years ago, when wine drinkers had far fewer resources to learn about wine, magazines like Gambero Rosso and WS were way more important. With the advent of the interweb, and great blogs such as this one, people have more resources to learn, read and figure out where to get wines that they like.

    There’s always going to be that subset of the population that will only drink WS wines with a score of 95 or higher (We came across people like that in in Vegas years ago. We overheard these two couples talking about how they were going to the top 5 zagat rated restaurants over 5 nights. Never mind they were drinking bud light with a Julian Serrano meal- at least go with a nice Belgian ale. I digress…).

    If a score and that prestige is that important to them, let them pay the extra $$. For the rest of us, support the wine makers we like (who are usually the ones that don’t care about scores anyhow), and open up bottles for your friends to spread the word.

  5. I think that “Giacomino” Suckling is the right man for the post-Cernilli era at Gambero Rosso.

    I also think that Mr. Cernilli (some years ago I invented a nickname for him: Robert Parker der Tufello – Tufello is a very popular area in the outskirts of Rome) could be the right man for Wine Spectator in the post-Suckling era.

    Why not? Suckling for Gambero Rosso and Cernilli for Wine Spectator and things will never change, absolute continuity in the mainstream (establishment) flow of information about Italian wines.

  6. I have several words to describe this turn of events, at least one of which begins with “F”…

    “Si stava meglio quando si stava peggio” now translates as, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” -or should that be somewhere between Purgatorio and Inferno?

    I have met Signor Giacomino only once but that was at least twice as much as I would have liked.

    I think that instead of reading his parole di merda I will listen to his delightful daughter’s wonderful voice.

  7. Our amico Giacomino is the Mick Jagger of the wine writing world.

    At WS he was the strutting frontman of the world’s greatest ad-revenue stream – excuse me, I mean rock ‘n’ roll band.

    Now he is a solo artist and without Keith (aka Marvin) his limitations become more conspicuous.

    Good luck to him – he’s very experienced and well-known. But I think he is mistaken in attempting to propagate a personality cult around himself.

  8. So according to Mr. J. Suckling, Gambero Rosso is not always saying the truth. That is news.

    In the same vein, I confirm that I am not joining WS.
    And Franco is still undecided about it.

    More in our next editions…

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