Barrel Oak Winery
3623 Grove Ln
Open year round
CALL TO CONFIRM:
OWNERS: Sharon and Brian Roeder
WINEMAKER: Shai Van Gelder
LOCATION DESCRIPTION: This winery is so popular that much of the surrounding grounds serves as parking. It’s unfortunate that the beautiful rolling hills have to be dotted with cars. As you approach, the hillside in front of the winery is covered in picnic tables. Again, it makes it feel more like a busy carnival rather than an intimate winery, but I know my opinion will be poopooed, and that’s okay because this is one incredibly popular place.
TASTING ROOM DESCRIPTION: The tasting room reminds me of a mountain lodge with high beamed ceilings and a huge primitive stone fireplace. If it weren’t so jam-packed with bodies it would be a cool place to hang out in the wintertime. Their main wine tasting bar has a really interesting swirly stainless steel top that couldn’t have been cheap. They’ve also added a beer tasting bar, so stay tuned because I’ll be back to check that out another time. I love that they used grapevines as decorations. Not twiggy pieces woven into some cheesy wreaths, but literally dug entire vines from the earth and hung them on the walls.
DATE/TIME IN-TIME OUT: 3/19//2017 | 00⸰ | 1:09pm
MY RIDE ALONG (My side-kick for this visit): Marky-mark, my BFF, my dude, my li’l bro’ that’s not really my li’l bro’ but I love him like one anyway.
TASTING FEES: Tastings start at $7 and the glass is not included.
POURERS: Lindsay was the bomb! Very sweet, knowledgeable, and accommodating.
THE TASTING: Let me be the first to say that I am a huge dog lover. But when those fuckers get to barking in that tasting room, it’s a startling echo the likes of which will turn the entire room of tasters to shock, silence, and probably a few peed pants. Oh, and could you possibly make your tasting sheet anymore confusing? See the sheet below: #1, top center, #2-3, down and to the right, #4 up and to the left, #5-7 down, then back up and to the right for #8-9, back to the left for #10, and ending on the right with #11… good god man!
|This represents a 1-5 scale with What the fuck? being the worst and Oh, hell yes! being the best.
The W-I-N-O tasting scale (the M is silent because who cares about the Ms?)
|[W] – What the fuck?
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.
|[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 Barrel Oak Winery wines – please remember, these are just my opinions …
|Petit Mans… no, wait… Bowhaus White
Pay attention if you plan on following the tasting sheet because this description is at the top of the page, all by itself. It has 1.75% residual sugar which makes it the perfect wine for beginners.
|Rating [N] Price $29|
|Petit… dammit, nope… Reserve Chardonnay
I normally read top to bottom, left to right. It would appear that Barrel Oak Winery has made their own tasting sheet rules. So, they say their Chardonnay has the aroma of stone fruit. What the fuck is stone fruit you ask? Well, if it has a pit, it’s a stone fruit. Why not just say peach, or apricot, or cherry, or whatever? Perhaps, it doesn’t make for a foo-foo enough tasting description.
|Rating [N] Price $39|
Good thing Lindsay knows her way around the tasting sheet because it has taken me this long to follow it. This one was done in French oak so it’s not as buttery as the Reserve Chardonnay, and a little boring.
|Rating [M] Price $34|
|Petit Manseng 2015
Finally! And after all that tasting sheet confusion, we come to “meh!” It’s typical sugar water with a yellow tint. The beginners will probably like this one though. Wait – 45 flippin’ dollars for yellow sugar water? Lindsay, why the fuck …? Well, “no distributors” blah blah, and “marketing” blah blah, and “promoting club memberships” blah blah. Nope!
|Rating [M] Price $45|
|Petit Manseng 2014
Maybe Lindsay felt badly that I had an aneurysm over the price of the prior Petit Manseng, but she let us try the 2014 to contrast. It was much better than the ’15, you can actually taste the varietal that is lost in ’15, and in spite of it looking like a cloudy urine sample I bought a glass of this one. Still a stupid price so I won’t take a whole bottle.
|Rating [N] Price $45|
We learned during our New Kent Winery visit that it can only be called Bordeaux if it’s produced in Bordeaux, France; therefore, we ‘Mericans call it Meritage. This one has a b-e-a-utiful color, for whatever that’s worth!
|Rating [N] Price $41|
It would probably make a good mulled wine because it can’t be ruined by adding fruit and sugar when there’s not much going on in the first place.
|Rating [M] Price $31|
It’s good but not $41 good. Humpf! It would have been an [N] rating if not for the price.
*I had to go back and try this one again because I forgot to rate it the first time around. It tastes like milk and that’s normally due to something they call “malolactic fermentation.” Lindsay gave me a clean glass for this re-try – best pourer ever! But the wine is still whatever.
|Rating [M] Price $41|
I looked at the price and can’t even taste the wine. This is just silly!
|Rating [??] Price $45|
Mark quickly hid the tasting sheet so I could rate the wine rather than the price. Okay, fine, it’s good… but DAMN, $$$!!
*Big kudos to Lindsay for rinsing us with Bowhaus White rather than water. I love you Lindsay!
|Rating [N] Price $46|
A lot of late harvest wines leave your tongue feeling coated like you just ate butter, this one does not, nor is it overly sweet, I liked it.
|Rating [N] Price $31|
This one is a port-style wine having been fermented in whiskey barrels. Hazelnuts!! It kinda reminds me of Nutella, so interesting. This is my favorite today and very apparent why it’s a best seller. However, I will NOT be purchasing this $37 bottle – it’s a 375ml bottle, half the amount in the standard wine bottle which translates to $74 for 750ml – it’s way expensive.
|Rating [N] Price $37|
“Single men need to recognize this is a target-rich environment!” -Mark
SUMMARY: Compared to most Virginia wineries, these wines are friggin’ costly! It doesn’t seem to matter though, because Barrel Oak Winery has built a reputation of being the dog-loving place where you can watch live music, eat good food, and drink wine with lots of other dogs and their people, so I think that’s why the winos are willing to pay those prices – camaraderie. After the tasting, Mark and I parked our
carcasses in the adjoining tasting room where a two-man-band played guitars and sang. Allison was tending that bar and she was GREAT! Just 21 years old, but a 3-
year employee that loves her job. How refreshing to meet someone in their 20’s with a genuine smile on their face and direction in their life! I hope the Roeders (owners) are taking great care of their employees, because that may be the sole reason I return to visit. I mean the wines are good, but the prices and crowds take something away from the experience. Who am I kidding? This is Mark’s favorite winery and since Mark is one of my favorite people I’m sure he’ll drag me back from time to time. Actually, he already has – did you know they have mimosas and complimentary bagels on Sunday mornings? That’s the time to go, it’s peaceful when they first open.
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