Getting Vertical with Gadino Cellars

Hello Friends,

I recently paid a visit to Gadino Cellars, located in Washington, Virginia, to partake in their 3rd annual Cabernet Franc vertical tasting event. The event, led by charismatic owner Bill Gadino, featured vintages from 2004 to 2008 and a barrel sample from the 2010 vintage. Light appetizers were provided by Iron Bridge Wine Company in Warrenton, Virginia, and Chef Milton did a very good job of preparing foods that paired nicely with the Cabernet Franc wines.

Bill Gadino (Owner) and Derek Pross (Winemaker)

So what is a vertical tasting? A vertical tasting is a classic-themed tasting where the wines selected are from the same producer, generally the same wine (varietal), and from different, but often times, contiguous years. The point of such a tasting is to learn more about an individual producer, the producer’s style, and how the varying growing seasons affect the wine from year to year. In Gadino Cellar’s case, the fruit source was pretty much the same from year to year, so this vertical tasting also presented the opportunity to sample the vine maturity and to better understand similarities, as well as differences, produced from the vineyard.

Getting Vertical with Gadino Cellars

Cabernet Franc is one of the leading red wine grape varieties in Virginia. In the vineyard, Cabernet Franc does fairly well and typically produces accessible wines that are light to medium in color, body, flavor, and tannin. For Bill Gadino, as with most of us, a strong emphasis is placed on the happy marriage of food and wine. This is reflected in Gadino Cellar’s food-friendly style of Cabernet Franc wines. The 2004 thru 2006 vintages, considered overall normal years by Virginia standards, are light to medium brick in color and easy drinking with soft red fruit flavors, light spice and cedar components, a lean, yet rounded mouth feel, and moderate acidity. These wines are ready to be consumed now and will compliment, not over-power, a wide variety of food dishes.

Spectacular views from the expansive front porch

The 2007 growing season, considered good to very good, even great, for most local grape growers, produced a wine that’s violet crimson in color (darker than 04-06), with dark cherry, raspberry, spice, black pepper, and subtle violet aromas. The 2007 offers riper fruit, moderate complexity, smooth tannins, supple texture, and the presence of acidity, which makes it a good food partner to one of Bill Gadino's favorites -- Italian cuisine. In 2008, Gadino Cellars began using the saignée method to produce a Rosé wine. This method had a direct influence on their 2008 Cabernet Franc wine. The 2008 Rosé wine Gadino Cellars produced by way of the saignée method is a by-product of red wine fermentation. Early in the wine-making process of the Cabernet Franc wine, some of the juice is bled [removed] from the tank. The lighter colored bled juice is then used to make the Rosé wine. The remaining juice in the tank, which will make the Cabernet Franc, will ultimately be more flavorful and deeper/darker in color because the ratio of skin to juice contact is higher. This, compounded with a fairly nominal 2008 growing season, produced a 2008 Cabernet Franc that is slightly darker and larger in style than the 2007. The 2007 for me, has greater depth of flavor and complexities, but the 2008 has more structure, tannin profile, and capable of standing up to more substantial foods. The 2010 barrel sample, which will be available in 2012, shows good flavor and color intensity and gave a glimpse into the potential of the 2010 vintage. In closing, if it’s well-made, food-friendly Cabernet Franc wines you seek, check out Gadino Cellars. Winemaker Derek Pross is doing a good job in the winery and he’s also a good tweep to follow on Twitter. If you’re not following Gadino Cellars – CLICK HERE to follow their tweets and discuss Virginia wine.

Bill Gadino serving up barrel samples of the 2010 vintage

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned friends ...More to come!

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