Where: 15669 Limestone School Rd, Leesburg, VA
Tasting Fee: $15 for seven wines with a small plate food pairing
Don’t Miss The: Cats, Una Pera (100% pear wine), Cabernet Franc
Food Situation: Any coolers or outside food have to be consumed in their outdoor picnic area. There are light charcuterie and cheese plates available, but nothing that would be a “full meal.”
Fabbioli doesn’t have those panoramic mountain views like some of its Loudon counterparts, but it DOES have a pretty cool octagon building that has plenty of adults-only seating. (This is genius and all wineries should please take note.) Also, it has cats. Sometimes, the cats will sit next to you when you do a tasting and I really can’t emphasize enough how AWESOME it is to have a cat crash your wine tasting. Fabbioli even manages to have ciders and port style wines. There’s something here for everyone.
Onto the tasting itself–Fabbioli is great in that its tastings change from month to month. We went during Harry Potter month because of course we did. The winery was decked out in Hogwarts regalia and the menu was clearly designed by someone who has a passion for Potter. Basically what I’m saying is that this entire experience was fabulous.
No matter what the theme, Fabbioli pairs their ciders, wines, and ports (That’s right folks! You get all three!) with a bite-sized menu. The pours are more than enough to do a sip/taste/sip, but not enough to the point where the tasting will get you tipsy. Personally, I prefer this in a tasting but hey–whatever floats your boat.
The tasting cost us $15 and started off with their Ladies’ Man semi-sweet apple and raspberry cider. It’s named for one of the aforementioned cats, who is apparently a big flirt. I can personally testify to making this cat take an instagram photo with me. He’s a good sport and looks even better on a bottle of cider. No food pairing on this one, but the cider toed the line nicely between leaning too sweet and would be great on a warm fall night.
Next up was our 2018 Petit Manseng, paired with a lemon curd crumpet. If you follow Virginia wine at all, (There are DOZENS of us) then you know that 2018 was a tough year where basically it just rained all the time and the harvest ended up being about 40% of what it should have been otherwise. Luckily, you can’t taste it in this wine. It’s a perfect summertime sipper.
For the third taster, we got to try Una Pera, Fabbioli’s 100% pear wine. This was particularly cool. Fabbioli actually grows 500 acres of their own pear orchards. The wine is fruit forward because, duh, and semi-sweet. It was paired with a baba ghanoj and jalapeno cheese bite, which made me want to order a bottle of this to eat with a bunch of tacos.
Moving on to the 2017 Chambourcin. Sometimes Chambourcin can lean a little too fruity for me, but this was happily earthier than I expected. It was paired with a garlic dill chicken confection. Rounding out the reds were a 2016 Cabernet Franc Reserve with roast beef (awesome) and a 2016 Meritage complete with a Hagrid-homemade rock cake.
For the end of the tasting, we had a taste of Fabbioli’s Raspberry Merlot–a wine that somehow manages to stay on the vast majority of their rotating tasting menus. It was paired with a dark chocolate truffle, which really balanced things out. For a dessert wine, it doesn’t rest too hard on its sugary laurels and is pretty damn drinkable. Our server, Art, also gave us a bonus pour of their Pear Port-Wine. It’s rare to see a white port-style wine, but this was great. They age it in local whiskey barrels, which gives it a nice depth.
Once the tasting was over and we had to say goodbye to art, we ordered a flight and a Butterbeer and settled upstairs to take selfies with Harry Potter characters and enjoy ourselves. Eager to try some new wines and experience more of the ciders, we ended up with a 2017 Barbera, the Attitude Adjuster dry apple hopped cider, as well as the Rosa Nera and Royalty port-style wines. The Rosa Nera ended up coming home with me in bottle form, probably because it was skull shaped and sealed with red wax. Look, there’s nothing wrong with having a Halloween wine on standby. We’ll drink it with our Hilltop Pumpkin Mead.
All in all, Fabbioli easily ends up in my unofficial running list of Top 10 Virginia wineries. The people are great, but most importantly, they really want to make your experience fun and enjoyable. While the wine is fantastic and well made (the owners learned the process out in Napa), it’s not pretentious and there’s a healthy amount of humor mixed into what they do. If you’re looking for a gateway winery to get yourself into the game, this is it.
If you want to see what I mean by sense of humor… check out their bathroom. Bonus–It even has a Ministry of Magic sign when you open the toilet!