Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Doug Fabbioli: Virginia's Red WIne Evangelist

In a recent post, I wrote that one of my favorite reds from Virginia is Fabbioli Cellars’ Cabernet Franc. It is a great, complex and elegant red. In fact, it shows that it is possible to create high quality reds in Virginia. Similar to reds from the Finger Lakes, climate and general reputation are seen as major barriers to producing quality reds in Virginia. Like so much conventional wisdom, it takes a very small number of people to prove it wonderfully, wonderfully wrong.

Doug Fabbioli opened the doors to his winery about four years ago with the mission to produce very good, high quality red wines in Virginia. His small, family-run winery is producing some very good wine, and raising the profile of Virginia reds along with it. Fabbioli Cellars’ Cabernet Franc is among my favorites.

Fabbioli wines can now be found on many wine lists in the DC area, and can, quite frankly, hold their own among the other selections without being the sympathy selection that helps the restaurant look like it is helping the local economy with token local additions.

The Cabernet Franc is not as full-bodied as a Cabernet Sauvignon, yet it has just as much complexity. Berries, tobacco and chocolate are the dominant flavors of this dark ruby red wine that is very nicely balanced with a smooth finish with a bit of spice on it.

Another wine that is worth trying is Fabbioli Cellar’s Chambourcin. While a less well-known varietal, Chambourcin does well in Virginia. A nice, easy-drinking light to medium-bodied red, Fabbioli Cellars’ Chambourcin has hints of exotic spice, oak and earth in it.

As someone who has been in the wine business for so long, and has experienced the industry from so many diverse vantage points, it is a testament to Virginia’s wine potential that Doug has settled here, opened his winery here, and is committed to improving the quality of red wine that the state is capable of producing. Fabbioli Cellars itself has a laid-back, family atmosphere. Stop in one weekend and try some of the best reds that Virginia is producing.

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