If you recall a late spring frost hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in early May. Most vineyards were unaffected; yet others lost a majority of fruit. One of these was Loudoun County's Fabbioli Cellars. For most of the past decade Doug Fabbioli has been the unknown face behind the rise in Loudoun County as a wine region. After education and a career in California, he moved to the Commonwealth and began winemaker first at Tarara Vineyard & Winery and later at Windham Winery - now Doukenie Winery. Eventually he started his own enterprise, yet was the consultant to many successive startups in the region, in particular North Gate Vineyards and Notaviva Vineyards. Over the years we've tasted most of Doug's portfolio - wither at festivals or at some of these newer wineries. Yet, we had never visited the tasting room - and this past Saturday we had the opportunity to see how the frost had affected operations.
And with the size of the crowd in the tasting room, 30 minutes before closing, no noticeable affect. Each tasting area was filled to capacity with newcomers constantly arriving during our stay. Closing hours must only be a suggestion. We decided to grab a bottle and head to the outside firepits and the Tre Sorélle was on my mind - their excellent Bordeaux style blend. However, when viewing the tasting sheet I noticed a single varietal Tannat and since we been touting this grape as suitable to Virginia, we had to splurge for a bottle. Splurge in that the wine is close to $30; that's specially tough after a couple trips to Trader Joe's for Halloween. But its a Virginia Tannat. While talking to new friends outside we found the wine to be young but full of potential. After a little aging this will be a big wine, plenty of tannins but nice acidity and red berry flavors. (I opened the bottle for a second pour a couple days later and the same opinion - young with potential). Let the tannins subside and this is a nice wine.
As for the frost, we didn't have a chance to discuss it. There are still a couple years of red wine aging in the cellar; as for white wines, some favors may be called in soon. We'll head back for another Tannat and actually conduct real research - and not waste the time away socializing.