Letter to James Suckling of WS about Dròmos 2005

After been waiting an answer for ten days because of the high respect for both my family longstanding tradition since 1883 and for our serious dedicated work here at PoggioVerrano I have decided to make public my recent letter to James Suckling by starting with its publication in my blog.

Please fell free to add any comment; for your reference in the "awards / reviews" section you can view the consistency of prestigious International accolades received so far and the result of the vertical tasting published by Sommelier Luca Gardini. Thanks for your time.

The following letter has been sent to James Suckling and cc to Marvin Shanken and to Carlo Ferrini on October 3, 2008.

Dear James,

opening the October 31st issue of “Wine Spectator” I have been really surprised to find out my wine, Dròmos ‘05, wasn’t included in the review of Tuscan wines. So I went on WS web site to see the full report and I found out about the 81 points !

I admit in the past years I didn’t expect too much being a new winery. Although for the first two vintages it was very difficult to accept the low points that Dròmos received by WS, but I decided to be patient and to present you Dròmos ‘05 with one extra year of bottle aging. After all I come from a long standing family tradition in winemaking and I have certain principles. Year after year I see all the wines made by Carlo Ferrini, our oenologist at Poggio Verrano, are receiving very high points by you. To make matters worse there are wineries that are very close to mine that share similar terroir, style of wine and oenologist. Then I’m astonished to see that there are wineries followed by Carlo that have from the beginning received praise from WS and they have more or less the same age of mine. So far WS is the only one that has given both the lowest and decreasing points to our wine: Dròmos ‘03 89 points, Dròmos ‘04 88 points, Dròmos ‘05 81 points.

To my dismay about this dilemma I decided to call Carlo Ferrini and out of respect for him I am sending him a copy of this letter. I simply asked him is Dròmos so inferior to Oreno, Galatrona, Sapaio, Il Blu, Tenuta Belguardo, Ilatraia, Poggio al Lupo? And I could go on. His response was that Dròmos is in the same class of these other wines and may be a few points more or less but not always 10 to 14 points lower. Carlo Ferrini feels this isn’t possible and he makes these wines.

I have continued for the past few years to contact you. I wanted to bring you to the winery so you could meet my staff and we could simply taste my wine together. I wanted you to see my second home here at Poggio Verrano. You were always too busy and I understand that.

I respect that you have the right to express your opinion. But I think that these opinions have to be fair to the readers and to the consumers since your evaluations have an enormous influence on all trade channels … and then they have to be respectful of our serious dedicated work.

My staff and I in the utmost professional way have worked for six seasons to exceed in making a fine wine here in Maremma. None of us here understand these harsh and unjust comments about Dròmos. My cellarmaster Nicola has two Bachelors (Agronomy and Oenology); both he and my assistant are Sommeliers, neither of them understand either.
You have not only insulted me personally but my professional staff as well. We are not making wine for a hobby. I don’t feel this matter will be good for anyone if it’s made public.

I have always had a good relationship with “Wine Spectator” but after a few years of being blatantly ignored and unjustly criticized I’d like to know why this is happening?
I am available to discuss this matter with you before Friday the 10th of October when I may decide to make it public.
..... omissis .........


Francesco Bolla


Anonymous said...

Francesco I read the letter with Surprise, since I had not learn of the Score of Dromos 2005 before reading it.
I do not put scores on wines but definitely if I was to score it I would place it higher than what Mr. Suckling has awarded it.
I remember tasting it with you at the beginning of October at Poggio Verano among the vineyards. It was Fresh and Floral on the nose with hints of Rosemarino and olives. Mineral undertones lingered with well integrated tannins, and a terroir complexity that was pleasant and balanced.
Keep up the commitment and passion you and your team has.

Jorge L. Mendoza

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with WineSpec? How is it possible for them to be so far-fetched from the other ratings you're getting (and from my own personal appreciation)? After having given a "Wine Spectator's Award Of Excellence" to an non-existent restaurant (I'm sure you heard about this:
will we find out they do something similar for wine ratings?

André Laurendeau

Francesco Bolla said...

Jorge Mendoza is the Sommelier of The Ritz Carlton, Key Biscane, FL and he has been offering Dròmos to his guests since March 2006.

Here it is the comment published in the April 2008 issue of FOOD & BEVERAGE magazine by the Sommelier Luca Gardini of Ristorante Cracco in Milano: "Dròmos 2005 -Impenetrable ruby, with evident reflections of purple, incredible consistency and extract. The bouquet is rich and complex, huge red fruit and blackberries with minerals and menthol, opens with spice and is protagonist in the finish, coconut milk, cinnamon first and then cumin after give finesse and elegance. An absolute final note closes on Taggiasca olives. In the mouth it’s full and tannins are in good equilibrium, young but not invasive, the body is robust with a mineral and liquorice finish"

Francesco Bolla said...

Dear André, here it is the comment published in the April 2008 issue by WINE ENTHUSIAST magazine (US):
"Dròmos 2005 - This wine has a specific point of spice at its core that is dressed in more flowing tones of herbs, pipe tobacco, molasses, leather and cherry at its perimeter. In the mouth this blend of five grape varieties has great structure and chewy tannins, 91". In the same issue it was listed in the favorite wines from Southern Tuscany.

Olivia Anthony said...

I am in charge of PR here at Poggio Verrano and I’d like to share a quick summary of what has been written about our Dròmos 2005 by the major Italian Wine Guides

Associazione Italiana Sommelier
Dròmos 2005 has a big body but at the same time elegant. Impenetrable ruby that makes the rich extract very evident. The nose is dark and hot and has a Mediterranean bouquet with elegant vegetable and leather notes. Convincing taste, show its muscles but sweetly leans on an elegant tannin with solid acidity. Long and persistent.

Dròmos 2005 has arrived with a breeze of excellence.

Gambero Rosso
Dròmos 2005 wins the finals again this year…it has the capacity to associate structural richness with elegance and equilibrium, good personality.

Luca Maroni
Dròmos 2005 of Poggio Verrano has power and mass.

Veronelli: 3 stars out of 3

Olivia Anthony

Anonymous said...

Beginning with the first vintage we follow the development of Poggio Verrano and Dromos. We are deeply impressed not only by the passion and professionalism but also by the results of these efforts, that is by the wines.
We cannot understand the critique about Dromos, except with the set phrase „tastes are different“. Actually everybody should form his own opinion about this wine. The unprejudiced way to do so would be a blind tasting.
Anyway we are looking forward to each new wine of Poggio Verrano and we are convinced that these wines and also the vineyard have a great future.
Katharina + Marc

Francesco Bolla said...

Christelle Guibert, Tasting Director of Decanter magazine (UK), has written about Dròmos 2005 "Nose with ripe cherry fruit. Intense and complex palate, clean and pure red fruit with spice. Great depth" 4 stars out of 5

Anonymous said...

I have been tasting and drinking Dròmos since vintage 2003.

To me the development and improvement of the young vines are quite obvious in the wine, regardless of vintage variations. Therefore I cannot understand how James Suckling from WS can give Dròmos decreasing scores.
However, being a magazine for American wine consumers I am not surprised that Dròmos 2003 got a high score. 2003 being a hot year with lots of ripe fruit.

Too me 2005 is a very complex, expressive and elegant wine with lots of concentration and structure, the fruit is well balanced with soft tannins and a fresh and clean acidity adding to the elegance, vivacity and vitality. It is a wine with character, far away from a simple red.

Dròmos 2005 deserves much better than James Suckling’s opinion. From a renowned wine journalist like James Suckling and a magazine like Wine Spectator one could expect a more professional evaluation.
Dròmos is a wine that makes a difference.
Lena Lindeberg/Stockholm/Sweden

Anonymous said...

As a wine enthusiast who has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit wineries throughout North America and Europe over the past twenty years, i am quite astonished that someone of James Suckling's stature would rate the Dromus such a low score! Having tasted the '03, '04, and '05, it is my opinion that the '05 is a wonderfully rich, full bodied wine that will develop over many years. But then I am not an "expert" - only one who enjoys good wine.

My wife and I first visited Poggio Verano in September of 2005, where we were warmly greeted by Francesco and given a tour of his splendid facility built in a modernized Etruscan style. he not only took the time to guide us through the winery and have us taste his young wines, but also took us through the different micro climates of his vineyards, explaining why he had chosen to plant the different varietals in each area.
His passion for excellence stood out, and as a result, we have chosen to include Dromus among our vertical collections, looking forward to comparing the vintages over the next number of years.

We recently returned to Poggio Verano while Francesco was away, and tasted the 2006 Dromus, and the new L'Altro before barrel tasting the 2007 Dromus. You can be assured that we will be adding cases of both to our collection!

In summary, perhaps if Mr. Suckling would take the time to discover Poggio Verano and truly taste the wines, he would at least be in a position to give an informed opinion.

Andy Pott

Anonymous said...

It is incredibly absurd that James Suckling gave this 'Jewel' among jewels an 81 point.

I had several wine experts taste Dromos 2005 and the conclusion was unanimous: "It rates in the 90's, without any hesitation". These wine experts are Members of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs; Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin; Mondial; Master Sommeliers and wine directors in some of the top restaurants throughout New York State.

I don't know what James Suckling was drinking...apparently not Dromos 2005..too bad.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday the results of the VIII Selezione Vini di Toscana were published.

This wine competition is organized every two years at Enoteca Italiana di Siena with the aim to select the best Tuscan wines.

The International jury was divided in ten commissions and each commission composed by seven members (oenologists, sommeliers and journalists) judged following the Union International des Oenologues standards.

Among the 1206 Tuscan wines submitted our Dròmos Maremma Toscana 2005 got the highest award “Diploma di Menzione Speciale” (= Gold Medal) in its category: blended red IGT wines.

Our success was confirmed by the “Diploma d’Onore” received by the newborn Dròmos L’Altro – Sangiovese 2006 which came second in the top five of its category: autochthon red IGT wines.

Olivia Anthony

Sommelier and PR Manager

Francesco Bolla said...

Thanks Olivia for your comment about VIII Selezione Vini di Toscana.
For curiosity I have taken a quick look at the full list of awards.
I have found out that Dròmos 2005 and Oreno 2005 have received the same top award “Diploma di Menzione Speciale”. I think that it’s great that they both have had the same special mention and are made by the same winemaker Carlo Ferrini. For Wine Spectator however they are very different wines: Oreno 2005 is worth 95 points while our Dròmos 2005 is worth 81 points. Why is that? I have been thinking about it but I don’t have the answer ….

By the way here it is the review published on Wine Spectator web about our Dròmos 2005:
“A simple fruity red, with plum and light raisin notes. Medium-bodied, with a slightly stewed character, but a good wine. A little disappointing from this producer. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 81. JS”

Anonymous said...

Now after been working (selling - presenting) Drómos 04 and 05 in Denmark for almost 2 years, I am astonished to learn about the bad ratings at WS. I think it is a brilliant wine and every time I present it to my customers, mostly top class restaurants, the sommeliers are also thrilled by the wine. Some of them however argue that the wine may be a bit too international but the quality nobody fails to recognize. Recently I went to a fair in Copenhagen with Drómos 05 and it was said to be the best wine of all the wines presented there. Mikael Valentin, Denmark

Olivia Anthony said...

Eighteen of our Italian clients are Michelin star restaurants and between them they have 28 stars.

These famous Restaurants along with their fantastic staff of Sommelier proudly offer Dròmos to their clients.

I find it ironic that Wine Spectator gives us such terrible points? Who is wrong 18 plus professional sommelier? I ask you?

Olivia Anthony
office of public relations and sommelier

Francesco Bolla said...

A new positive review has been published in the German magazine MONDO by Gerhard Eichelmann:
“Der 2005 Dròmos, Maremma Toscana IGT, besteht aus den fünf genannten Rebsorten und wurde achtzehn Monate im Holz ausgebaut. Er zeigt gute Konzentration und viel reife Frucht im Bouquet, ist herrlich eindringlich und dominant. Im Mund ist er wunderschön füllig und harmonisch, besitzt viel reife Frucht, viel Substanz, etwas Schokolade und gute Länge. 90”

Following it is the translation in English:
"Dròmos 2005 Maremma Toscana, in the bouquet it shows a good concentration and a lot of ripe fruit; it is powerful and outstanding. In the mouth it is excellently rich and harmonious, with ripe fruit, a lot of substance, some chocolate and very persistent. 90"

Francesco Bolla said...

Enjoy the tasting notes by the well-know wine critic Luca Maroni on RADIO 2 channel

Francesco Bolla said...

The US magazine WINE & SPIRITS has included our Dròmos 2005 in the YEAR'S BEST - TUSCAN REDS with the following review: "Brisk acidity creates a sense of tension between the savory tannins and sweet blackberry flavors in this stylish red. It becomes more textural with air, a seamless blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese with Alicante and Cabernet Franc. Decant a bottle for grille hanger steak. 90" We are very proud of this new accolade!

Francesco Bolla said...

Another great award from London: the GOLD MEDAl at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2009. Salute!

Francesco Bolla said...

In the October 2009 issue DECANTER magazine has published the results of the Decanter World Wine Awards 2009: 10285 entries from 2240 wineries around the world.
Only 196 Gold medals including our
Dròmos 2005: classy smoke and minerals, beautiful elegance, smooth fruit showing excellent complexity and balance.
Great award for a great wine!

Francesco Bolla said...

A new prestigious review for our Dròmos 2005 by The Wine Collection 2010/International Wine Challenge (London, UK)

The Library Collection assesses wines for their current drinkability and for their cellaring potential.
The organization includes wine critics such as Oz Clarke, various Master of Wine, representatives of Christie's, Bordeaux Index, The Wine Society, BBR.

Here is the great review of Dròmos 2005 “Mid ruby. Ruby/garnet rim. Big weighty style, holds together well. Smoke, dusty, coal notes. Meaty on nose. Smooth initial attack, good weight, dark plum and smoke flavours. 93/100”

Dròmos 2005 is in the top 20 winners !