After more than 30 years in the business, Doug Fabbioli still says it's all about the wine. No events, no concerts. Just wine.
White wine lovers, keep an open mind here. Fabbioli Cellars is mostly about reds. Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Chambourcin, Petit Verdot, Barbera, Tannat, Zinfandel. (Fabbioli's Tannat won a spot among the 12 Virginia Governors Cup top winners in 2014, and his Cab Franc joined it in 2016.) You'll even find a big handful of before- and after-dinner wines, including Aperitif Pear Wine, a raspberry Rosa Nera, the port-style Royalty, and the wine with its own cult following - Raspberry Merlot.
The tasting experience here is unique for Virginia. It's a little more expensive - $15 - but is conducted as a seated tasting led by an experienced wine educator, with each wine matched with morsels selected to show off what a well-chosen food/wine pairing can bring out in each. The list of featured wines changes monthly (check the Facebook page for monthly features).
If you've visited in the past, you'll remember a cozy tasting room in the bottom portion of the Fabbioli's pretty yellow house in a neighborhood of McMansions. Since then, Fabbioli opened a beautiful new 3-level silo-style tasting building - a much larger spot to welcome the growing numbers of fans.
The previous tasting room has been remodeled for a more casual experience, where guests can enjoy "off menu" wines (that is, favorites from Fabbioli's cellar of more than 20 wines that may not be on the current tasting menu), as well as a new line of ciders.
At this writing, four creative ciders are available, including Attitude Adjuster, a hop-infused apple cider; Ladies Man, which incorporates apple and raspberry; Perry, dry pear cider; and Berry Good Friends, a strawberry cider made in a collaboration with Wegmeyer Farms. Ciders are made from local fruits in, as Doug Fabbioli explains it, "a refreshing style that respects the heritage of these types of beverages."
Picnics tables and Adirondack chairs are scattered about, inviting a relaxed visit. Fabbioli Cellars is family friendly, but also offers space for adults only. On weekends, there's a family-friendly bar downstairs in the barrel room, and lots of space for family picnics out front. There are designated "21 and over" areas out back, on the deck, and in the upstairs seating area. No one under 21 permitted at the tasting tables.
Please note that reservations are required for groups of 7 or more (whether everyone in the group is tasting or not); reservations required for ALL
guests arriving by chartered transportation (limos, etc), and the tasting fee for these guests is higher; no outside food allowed in the tasting room and no alcohol may be brought onto the grounds (per ABC regulation).
Pets permitted outdoors only, on leash.
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