Where: 4025 Childress Rd, Christiansburg, VA
Tasting Fee: $5.00 for 5 wines, $10 for 10 wines
Don’t Miss The: Vidal Blanc Reserve, Fig wine, Cabernet France
Food: Lighter bites and shareable small plates. If you need something more substantial, they have a wine bar in nearby downtown Blacksburg.
After 64 wineries and an iPhone full of pictures, I have a bit of a backlog of wineries to review. Following some deep thought and introspection, aka a glass of mulled wine yesterday at brunch, I’ve come up with a new non-scientific method to figure out how to order these reviews out. For at least the next few posts, my plan is to focus on Virginia wineries that are criminally underrated. There are more than 312 wineries in the state, but sometimes it seems like the industry is only looking at the heavy hitters. Hopefully, over these next few posts, you’ll get ideas of some newer, smaller operations that are well worth your time.
Up this week is Whitebarrel winery, a fairly recent operation in Christiansburg, VA. It’s a little slice of calm surrounded by subdivisions. The owners took this farmland and saved it from being developed. Whitebarrel is also a Virginia Green winery–they compost everything they can from their vineyards and even have a dedicated bio-retention system for their water.
When I came in for my tasting, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Whitebarrel uses traditional Georgian techniques. This means that they have a Vidal Blanc Reserve made in an orange wine style , where the skins are left on white grapes throughout the fermentation process. Many of their wines are made in the traditional Kakhetian style, which is an ancient method of aging using clay jars. Of course, Whitebarrel has modernized things a little bit–they use food grade plastic containers with concrete balls.
Being the wine fiend I am, I chose the 10 wine tasting for $10 and had a blast. There’s a wide selection of wines and some unique selections you won’t find many other places. On the back of my tasting sheet, I was particularly excited to find a huuuuuuuuge list of “Wine Infusions,” or grape wine that was blended with fruit, hop, or herbs before bottling. The list was extensive; peach, mango, plum, hops, cherry, and black currant. My favorite was the plum wine–if you aren’t a Sake fan, it’s an excellent alternative to pair with sushi.
The star of my show though, was their Cabernet Franc, which was marked by three big ole’ hearts on my tasting sheet. Aged in French for 10 months, you can bet that a bottle came home with me. Another pleasant surprise was their fortified fig wine. I’ve never had anything quite like it. It was almost like a fig mead, but with a bit more finesse.
Overall, Whitebarrel was a great time. With more than 20 wines on their tasting menu, it was fun to pick and choose from the list. I also appreciate that I can give myself a completely different experience when I return. Coming soon is also Blackbarrel, a nano-brewery that will be located in the same space. Next time I’m in Hokie Country, I plan to pop over to their Blacksburg wine bar, where they also serve a variety of other Virginia wines and have a more extensive food menu.
Bonus: they gave me this really cool gadget that is basically a necklace that doubles as a wine glass holder… WHAAAAAAAAAT. From that alone, I’m a fan for life. Go visit Whitebarrel!