There’s a lot of wine downstairs. When I pull an older bottle “from the pile,” as I put it sort of accurately, I hold my breath. Will this be over the hill? Or will it be amazing? Most often, of course, it’s somewhere in between — holding up pretty well, perhaps with the fruit fading and the oak remaining. Sometimes I get a gem, and those can be wonderful.
Case in point: Fabbioli Cellars Tannat, 2010 — yes, 2010! — from Virginia. ABV is a modest 13.5 percent. This was a rare “California vintage” in Virginia, hot and ripe, forcing many winegrowers to harvest earlier than expected. One of those years where the radio news runs oversimplified reports about how we’re baking but the grapes are thriving. An easy vintage to over-generalize about.
Doug Fabbioli started his winemaking career in California, so he knows hot vintages, even if Virginia doesn’t remind him of them very often. This 2010 Tannat, after a decade or more in my imperfect storage, was still deep purple in color and fresh in acidity, with grippy tannins. I opened it two nights ago; it was fine, a bit tart and closed. Tonight, it was singing. It had a floral note that made me think I was bathing in a tub of roses. (My wife thought I was crazy, but she always imagines herself the practical one). Flavors of cherries and plums, with some black pepper spice, just don’t want to quit.
As I write this, I’m contemplating the last swig still in my glass. Gritty sediment is coating the side of the bowl. I turn the glass this way and that, trying to fix deposits of sludge and isolate those last few drops for a final sip. Some dietary fiber won’t be too bad, right? After all, that’s what toothbrushes are for, right?
Fabbioli Cellars Tannat 2010, Virginia. (Purchased, I think.)
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