Tasty sweet wines from Fabbioli Cellars, and a great event space at Vida U Street
Originally posted on March 13, 2013 at firstvine
When we started this blog we thought we’d be doing some short posts on things going on in DC along with posts about wine and recipes. That certainly fell by the wayside, didn’t it? Part of the problem is that we can’t bring ourselves to write about places we eat because we’re not very good at it, and let’s face it, we’re kinda old now and don’t get out that much anyway.
But we should make the effort, particularly when we come across something good. Cy and I got invited to a wine tasting by Fabbioli Cellars, a Leesburg, Virginia winery, that was held at Vida Fitness on U St. NW back in January. The tasting and the event space were interesting, so here’s a recap of both.
We met Doug Fabbioli, the winery owner, back in 2010 at the DC International Food and Wine Festival, but hadn’t tried his wines since then. There were seven on offer at the tasting, and four were paired with little bites of food — kind of like the experience you’d get at a well-run tasting room.
Fabbioli makes both sweet and dry wines and the tasting order had us try two so-called “off-dry” wines first, then three dry wines, then two that I’d classify as sweet. I’m not sure that was the best way to do it, going from a lightly sweet wine to a dry one without resetting your taste buds a little makes the first dry wine seem a little bitter, at least to me. I think this put the 2010 Cabernet Franc at a disadvantage. By the time we got to the second one I think our palates had reset a bit.
Still, on balance the sweeter wines showed better this tasting. Una Pera, a 100% pear wine, was really delightful ($16/bottle). The Raspberry Merlot is one of Fabbioli’s best known selections, but it’s still very good, especially with the dark chocolate they served alongside it ($22/375 ml, $39/750 ml). The Rosa Nera, a fortified black raspberry wine, is a nice alternative for dessert, it has more body than dessert wine but not quite the kick you get from port ($36/500 ml). I’d recommend any of them as a good dessert wine. Among the dry wines, I liked the 2010 Tannat best, it has the earthiness I like in French wines and should keep for easily a few years if you want to put it away ($45/bottle).
Now for the space — the tasting was held in the Innerspace Studio, which is used for yoga and pilates. I was told that this was the kind of thing that Vida would like to have out by the rooftop pool, but this was January so it was inside. But the studio is a great event space. It can easily hold 60 people and, since it’s on the fourth floor, looks out over U Street to the north and east, a good view. Brick walls, high ceiling, dark wood floor. I can easily see it being used for summer events. Around here, a good-looking, mosquito-free zone is a must for evening events. (And since it’s used as a fitness studio, we can be pretty sure the air conditioning can handle a crowd.)
I asked James Kameen, the Marketing Manager, for some details about renting the studio and he told me that it’s available Friday nights from 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 4 pm. There are still some details to work out. The studio rental fee is based on food and beverage minimum charges, but hasn’t been set yet. All food and beverage served have to be purchased from Vida. This is the way Vida currently handles its pool club event rentals, but the pool food and drink menu is geared toward poolside parties rather than nicer events. Mr. Kameen told me the catering menu will be available in April, and, as a wine merchant, I hope it includes more than the “house” red and white wines currently on offer poolside, or the minimal list of wines by the bottle.
So, a couple of things worth checking out! Now the trick is going to be for us to post more of these. Who knows, perhaps it’ll be the thing that gets us out of the house…