Vin de Garage in Loudoun County
I headed out to Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg this morning to do some research for an upcoming article. Owner Doug Fabbioli is knowledgeable without being at all pretentious, and a visit to his small winery is a refreshing change from other area wineries' focus on upscale tasting rooms and booking private parties.
I tasted through his offerings, and I was really impressed. Doug decided early on that he would tailor his vineyard and winery to only red wines, although he does offer two Chardonnays through a winery on which he's currently consulting.
The flagship wine, Tre Sorelle (named for his wife and her two sisters...) is a Bordeaux-blend with decent structure, and balanced fruit and oak. DC restaurants Mio and BlackSalt recently added it to their wine list. I tasted both the 2005 and 2006, and preferred the latter--I got a funky aroma on the 2005, which wasn't necessarily off-putting, but wasn't apparent on the more recent vintage.
I also really enjoyed the North Gate 2005 Merlot, made from grapes grown at Fabbioli and vinted by Mark and Vicki Fedor in Purcellville. It's done in an Old World style, with an elegant backbone and restrained fruit. A nice alternative to the barrage of jammy, lush Merlots that are out there.
The wine that surprised me the most was the Raspberry Merlot. Although I had been told it wasn't too, too sweet, I was sceptical. Turns out, it wasn't that sweet, and the tart raspberry flavor really came through to balance it out. I thought it would be nice topped with some Prosecco for a spring or summer cocktail.
The tasting room at Fabbioli is open Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit their website.