Whitebarrel Winery
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Whitebarrel Winery

4025 Childress Road
Christiansburg, VA 24073

WEBSITE:
whitebarrel.com/

FACEBOOK:
www.facebook.com/whitebarrelwinery

HOURS:

Monday-Tuesday 12:00pm –5:00pm
Wednesday-Thursday 12:00pm–7:00pm
Friday-Saturday 11:00pm–8:00pm
Sun 12:00– 6:00

CALL TO CONFIRM:
(540)-382-7619

OWNER/WINEMAKER: Rik Obiso

LOCATION DESCRIPTION:  There are homes nearby making it feel like a suburban neighborhood, but the vineyards break it up a bit, and it is a nice setting in spite of the surrounding houses.

TASTING ROOM DESCRIPTION:  From the outside this building reminded me of a beach house with its vertical wood siding painted blue. Walking in it felt more like a rustic mountain lodge with the big fireplace and weathered decor fashioned from reclaimed 1913 barn wood. Beautiful!

DATE/WEATHER/TIME IN-TIME OUT:  2/24/2017  |  70⸰  |  12:18pm-1:42pm

MY RIDE ALONG (My side-kick for this visit): I was the Lone Day Drinker for this one.

TASTING FEES: 5-6 wines for $5, 10-11 wines for $10, reserve wines $1 each, Bin 831 $2.50 – Of course I tried all 14 of their branded wines, what do you think I am, a quitter?

POURERS: They were busily preparing for a party of 30 so I had a selection of pourers, but they were all making sure I was taken care of, very attentive. I have to say, I was happiest when Rik pulled up a stool and sat talking with me through the majority of the tasting. He was such a pleasure, wow! This guy LOVES his business. He had injured his leg that day, but insisted on hobbling around on those crutches making sure the tasting bar was cared for while the others prepared for the party.

THE TASTING: The bin numbers all have sentimental meaning to Rik and his wife.

This sad little corkscrew died in the Whitebarrel Winery parking lot.  [sigh]

The W-I-N-O tasting scale (the M is silent because who cares about the Ms?)
This represents a 1-5 scale with What the fuck? being the worst and Oh, hell yes! being the best.
[W] – What the fuck?
Dumped.
If I won’t drink it, it’s fucking bad because I’ll drink anything.
[I] – I’ll pass.
Not good, but not dumped. That would be wasteful.
[M] – Meh.
It’s whatever.
[N] – Now we’re getting somewhere!
This is a goodie. I may have bought it, or it might not be worth the money, or I’ve already spent too much.
[O] – Oh, hell yes!
I probably bought this one.

Here we go, the Whitebarrel wines – please remember, these are just my opinions …

Chardonnay
Crisp. What the hell does that even mean? Crackers are crisp, not wine, right? Okay, here’s your educational moment of the day in layman’s terms – crisp means it’s dry, not sweet or fruity. It’s also slightly acidic with a similar feel as when you bite into a lemon but not mouth puckering, it’s VERY slight. I usually like my Chardonnay a little more buttery.
Rating [M] Price $19
Vidal Blanc
Smells like flowers and honey, very flavorful but it’s dry.
Rating [N] Price $18
Bin #214
February 14 (2/14) is when Rik and his wife entered an international microbiology business together. Typical bordeaux-style blend, nothing really makes it stand apart.
Rating [M] Price $18
Cabernet Franc
It smells like milk. This means they probably used malolactic fermentation which produces lactic acid, and guess what milk contains? Now you know why wine might smell like milk.
Rating [M] Price $20
Cabernet Sauvignon
Factoid: Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be a lighter style while California Cabernet Sauvignon is much bolder in color and flavor.
Rating [M] Price $21
Chambourcin
I think this grape is consistently one of my favorites because it smells like brandy, and brandy is what port-style wine is usually infused with. It makes sense that Chambourcin is often used in Virginia port-style wines. I bought it!
Rating [O] Price $19
Bin #704
First of all, KUDOS for NOT rinsing my glass with water; rather, handing me a clean glass between reds and whites! Bin 704 is simply named for the 4th of July (7/04). This wine looks like limoncello, a little cloudy and bright yellow, blended from Chardonnay and Riesling, and slightly sweet with 1.75% residual sugar.
Rating [N] Price $18
Bin #997
Because of their science background, Rik and his wife named this wine after the largest prime number under 1,000 (997). My head hurts when it tries to math. This one blends Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, and RASPBERRY, mmmm!
Rating [N] Price $17
Bin #260
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. This is a good beginner red wine because it’s so mild and easy to drink. The 2.5% residual sugar helps.
Rating [N] Price $18
Bin #101
This is their best seller and Rik’s wife’s favorite, so it’s 101! Before I even picked it up I could smell the fresh apples with which this wine was blended.
Rating [N] Price $17
Bin #127
Holy cannoli! 15% residual sugar hides a bit of the fruit flavor, but apparently this one contains mango puree. I still gave it a decent rating because it does have good flavor and reminds me of a quality late harvest wine. By the way, 127mm is the average circumference of a mango. Hence, Bin #127.
Rating [N] Price $18
Vidal Blanc Reserve
When I smelled this one I had to close my eyes and have a moment (and maybe a cigarette). Georgia is a country near Russia and they produce the Rkatsetelli grape that is blended in this wine. Thanks to Rik, I now know the correct pronunciation of Rkatsetelli – the R is silent – cot-seh-tellie. Having spent time in Georgia, Rik is so passionate about this mispronunciation he is suing another well-known Virginia winery for promoting the pronunciation of the R. Whoa!
Rating [N] Price $22
Cabernet Franc Reserve
Rik said mocha, and he was definitely right. I normally like a very peppery Cabernet Franc, but I’ll tell you what, I have a new appreciation for the lack of pepper. I’ll take mocha all day long!
Rating [N] Price $25
Bin #831
Tinta Madeira, Touriga Nacional, and Souza, all Portuguese varietals. I appreciate that this port-style wine did not coat my tongue, and that it was made with something other than Chambourcin. 8/31 is Rik’s wife’s birthday, and this is another of her favorites.
Rating [N] Price $29.99

SUMMARY: I never tried wines from Atimo Winery, but they were Whitebarrel Winery’s predecessor. Of the 14 wines I tried, 10 had a good rating and that is pretty rare for me. This was a great experience and if every winery were as passionate about their product as Rik is, perhaps, they would be as good. I can taste his passion in his wines (okay, don’t be gross), seriously, they’re good! This winery offers a full-service kitchen and would be a perfect spot for a work meeting, bridal shower, or just a good ol’ wine party with your buds. Go, you must!

Whitebarrel Winery Tasting Sheets:

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