Over the weekend, Warren and I had the chance to participate in the first John Marshall Tasting Experience at Oak Hill: unique pairings of extraordinary wines with savory snacks designed to bring out the very best in each wine. Oak Hill Estate is the property that used to belong to Chief Justice John Marshall. John Marshall was born in Fauquier County in 1755 and his parents bought the property and built the house in 1773. Brian and Sharon Roeder (owners of Barrel Oak next door) purchased the property in 2010 with the idea of opening the house to the public for the unique tasting experience.

This weekend the John Marshall Tasting Experience will begin for the public at Oak Hill Estate. Tasters can select one of the five flight options available on the menu. From the Oak Hill Estate website:

“The John Marshall Tasting Experience offers our guests the unique opportunity to try rare wines in a historic country setting. Our wine list not only includes our signature label, Chief Justice Cellars, but a sampling from the best wines that Virginia –and indeed the entire world – has to offer.

Each select wine will be paired with an entirely unique food item designed to bring out the extraordinary impact of each vintage. This curated collection of wines juxtaposes, compares and contrasts New World winemaking styles with those of the Old World.
Your tasting choices will range from $25 to $75 and includes a diverse variety of wines and food pairings. All wines sampled will be available for sale in the John Marshall Tasting Experience shop.

Upon completion of the tasting, participants can continue their experience with a picnic on the grounds on Oak Hill. A selection of gourmet meats, cheeses, and crackers will be available for purchase.

Wines will be paired with fine cheeses, charcuterie and fresh fruits; all locally sourced, when in season. In honor of the Great Chief Justice, our wine tastings are named after components of the American judicial structure.

Circuit: Enjoy the local flavor with off-dry and semi-sweet wines of the Virginia Piedmont.

Superior: Savor the unique terroir of dryer reds and whites from the Virginia Piedmont region.

Appellate: Taste the best of Virginia with the most noteworthy award winners.

Supreme Reds: Virginia’s best red wines compared and contrasted with the best examples of world class wines. Bordeaux and Napa will need a good defense.

Supreme Whites: Virginia’s best white wines take the stand as the star witness against New Zealand, Burgundy and the Rhinelands.

All flights will begin with a refreshing sparkling wine, and close with a sampling of fine Madeira.”

I selected the Superior flight and Warren selected the Appellate flight. The last two flights weren’t available during our visit but will be available when they open to the public this weekend.

The Superior flight included the 2010 Desert Rose Hitch Hollow Chardonnay, the 2008 Naked Mountain Raptor Red, the 2010 Philip Carter Meritage, and the 2010 Rappahannock Cellars Cabernet Franc. The Appellate flight consisted of the 2011 Rappahannock Cellars Viognier, the 2010 Jefferson Vineyards Cabernet Franc, the 2008 White Hall Vineyards Cuvee Des Champs, and the 2009 Barrel Oak Petit Verdot. We have tasted and mentioned many of these wines in the past, so we will won’t be including detailed tasting notes at this time. Our tasting took place in what looked to be one of the parlors in the main house. Tastings were being conducted in almost every room of the original home. Each of our tastings included tasting nibbles paired with each wine. They were delicious and paired nicely with each wine. During our tasting we were able to speak with Brian Roeder about the experience and the history of the property. One of the rooms is set up as a purchasing area. Tasters can purchase the wines they enjoyed during the tasting. In the future, wines will be produced under the Chief Justice Cellars label and be offered as part of the tasting experience.





The John Marshall Tasting Experience is definitely unique. Not only will tasters get to taste several Virginia wines in one place, tasters can also enjoy wines from all over the world along side outstanding Virginia wines. When you add in the historic house and the history of John Marshall, the experience becomes even more special. If you are looking for a tasting experience different from the tasting experience you enjoy at most Virginia wineries, consider checking out the John Marshall Tasting Experience at Oak Hill. We’re sure you’ll find as unique as we did. And tell the Virginia Wine Time sent you!