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Time Travel Perfected by Local Winery, John Connor Ends Up Not Born After All

Posted by on February 2, 2012

When we started this blog, we did it with a pretty traditional understanding of what a blog was.  We saw this as an online repository for our tasting notes.  A way to force ourselves to pay more attention to what we were drinking, enjoying, not enjoying etc.  We also saw it as a way to force ourselves to step up our exploration of the local wine scene we so enjoyed so that we could continue to discover local wines we loved.

In the more than 2.5 years since we first posted on this site, we’ve met those goals, but it’s become so much more.  We’ve both grown as wine tasters and wine drinkers.  We’ve become more proficient with the language of wine and can better express our likes and dislikes so that we, and others, can understand our style preferences.  Without question, however, the biggest plus has been finding ourselves as members of a vibrant community of other local wine and VA wine lovers.  At first this community was all virtual.  We’d comment on the blogs of other people, they’d comment here.  We might chat over twitter.  Over time, others have become regular commenters, and I feel like I’ve become friends with people I’ve never met in person.  We’ve also had some great opportunities to interact with people in person, and the VA community is a warm and welcoming one.

One of the people we’ve had the privilege to come to know is Allan from CellarBlog.  Allan knows a lot about wine, and seems to have a heck of a lot more interesting collection than we do, and is one of many advocates for drinking local wine.  He’s also just a great guy who’s a lot of fun to hang out with.  Unfortunately, our schedules don’t often mesh and we don’t live that close to each other, so meet ups don’t happen all that often.  Because of this, when we decided to hit the wine trail again after some time away dealing with other aspects of our lives and Allan invited us to join his wine meet up group at Fabbioli Cellars for a cabernet franc vertical tasting, we immediately said yes.

Allan made all the arrangements, and all we had to do was show up, pay our $10, and enjoy the company of some interesting people.  When they were ready for us, we moved over to the production building where Melanie, the assistant winemaker, led us through a vertical tasting of 4 vintages of their cab franc (the classic not the reserve for those of you who are familiar with Fabbioli wines).

We started with the 2008, a library wine that was only for sale that weekend ($22).  Melanie had decanted this wine as she felt it showed best after being open for some time, and it was my favorite of the day.  I noted a lot of cherry notes and the nose and plenty of bright/tart fruit notes on the palate with some great acidity (something I’m coming to appreciate more and more).  I also noted some earthiness that I described as decaying leaves and mushrooms; I think those of a more poetic bent mgiht refernece notes reminiscent of a forest floor).

We then moved on to the current vintage, the 2009 ($19).  Melanie mentioned that she didn’t think this one would be in the tasting room for much longer, however, as they were starting to run low.  This wine struck me as a bit young and tight, but it started to work for me when I tried it with some of the salami they had out for us.  I noted more oak on the nose as well as dark cherry, coffee, and light hints of black pepper on the palate.

The 2010 ($19 when it’s soon released) came next.  I noted a lot of green bell pepper notes on the nose along with a hint of spice.  I don’t mind a bit of green in my cab franc, but 2010 was such a dry, hot year that it really surprised me to find it in this vintage.  This was definitely a less fruit-dominant cab franc than the other vintages we tasted, and the wine generally didn’t seem to have as much depth, although there was some nice spice on the finish.  This might be due to its youth…so it will be interesting to try this again in the tasting room in a few more months.

The tasting ended with a barrel sample of the 2011.  This particular barrel was a neutral one, so all the fruit was very evident.  I noted a light raspberry and cherry nose and light berry flavors along with some sweet cherry.  The sweetness of this wine is what struck me the most.  It may be dry with a lot of fruit, or it may have a hint of residual sugar…regardless, all the fruit just made me think sweet.  Of course, the wine from this barrel will be blended with wine from other barrels as well as wine from other grapes (the classic cab franc is basically never a 100% cab franc wine at Fabbioli).

Fabbioli isn’t a winery I get to often, so I don’t have the best sense of what it is I gravitate towards in their wines.  After this experience, I think it may be the fruit.  I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m interested in a fruity red!

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3 Responses to Time Travel Perfected by Local Winery, John Connor Ends Up Not Born After All

  1. GrapeEnvyGuy

    VWD isn’t kidding – we’ve made some great friendships through VA wine. The amount of fun I have with other wine lovers helps me better understand history. Have you ever noticed that in all the photos of temperance movements prior to Prohibition, the members all look seriously grumpy? It’s because they didn’t drink wine. That’s a historical FACT.

    This vertical showed just how fruity Doug Fabbioli’s cab francs are. In some cases I like the reserves a little better for the layering, but the ’08 did have a nice balance of cherry and earthiness. I am of the poetic bent, so I will say that it had the headiness of forest duff, overturned by a careless boot while clambering over a wet log. Hee, English is pretty.

    If you get the chance to do a vertical tasting at a winery you like, DO IT. Don’t think about it (unless it’s crazy expensive of course. Then weigh out whether wine or your mortgage is more important).

  2. Jen

    We don’t get to Fabbioli often enough either, we just get stuck over on route 9 or spend all our time at Tarara. We do really enjoy the wines there especially the Cab Franc so I’m sure this was a fun time. Still trying to make it on a day they taste the Royalty, we keep missing it.


    I am glad you guys enjoyed the event! It is always great when we get to hang out, I just have to be careful where I point my camera :) . We’ll see you soon!

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