What is a Barrel Tasting and How Do I Make The Most Of It?

Your girlfriend/boyfriend/mother/sister invited you to go to Pearmund Cellars for their month long Barrel Tasting every weekend in March, and you thought “Awesome, I’d love to!” while thinking “What’s a Barrel Tasting?” at the same time.

Barrel tastings are not what they sound like; no, you don’t taste an actual barrel. A winery gives you the opportunity to taste a wine while still in the barrel usually a few weeks after harvest has completed. These wines are like a ‘sneak peak’ to what’s to come and give you the opportunity to also purchase wines at a discounted price.  In the case of Pearmund Cellars, the wines coming straight from the barrel are also paired with foods to enhance the experience.


Boxwood3Wine Barrel tastings give you the opportunity to evaluate the taste of the wine it is, and what it will become.  In this stage, no single flavor dominates (ideally). Fruit impressions are in the ‘front’ (the first thing you taste). And, if you’re a seasoned vet, you should also be able to notice subtle nuances in notes embraced from the barrel it aged in.


Note how well the aroma and flavors meld. Are they nicely balanced or do they stand alone? Young wines can take time to come together so if you notice one or the other, it doesn’t signify a bad wine; just a young one.


Do notice however how long the finish is of the wine you taste. This will determine your choice in bottle. Does the wine have a long finish? If so, this indicates a well-structured wine that may be a good candidate for long term aging. If it has a short finish this wine should be enjoyed while young; aging this kind of wine is not recommended.


Be patient when at a Barrel Wine tasting. There are generally many people waiting for a glass to sip and if there is someone there to pour individual glasses, take a moment and step back to allow them some breathing room. If you wait until the crowd has shifted, you may have an opportunity to ask additional questions; an opportunity you wouldn’t have as a single voice inside a mob.DSC_7807


Take advantage of the Pearmund Cellars Barrel Tastings every weekend in March. The cost is $35 a person and gives you a perfect overview of what to expect from a Virginia Winery; especially when you choose to come back for a wine tasting with a group.DSC_7737


*Ask us to help tailor your group outing if you enjoy your visit to Pearmund Cellars. We will take care of all of the planning; you only bring yourself, your group, and enjoy!

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