Otium Cellars; Where else can you find Dornfelder? Seriously?

Last weekend, I decided that after leaving my sunglasses at Magnolia’s in Purcellville after a visit to Above Ground Winery, I should probably go retreive them. Secretely, I just really wanted a nice brunch, and to put myself in position to stop by Otium Cellars. After hearing from Kurt @ WineAboutVA that they were open for a soft opening until the official opening in mid-May, I knew I had to get there before they were official, to give all of my readers a heads up if the winery was as good as what I have had in the past. A lot of their wines were available at 8 Chains North over the past year or two, so I had the opportunity of a preview tasting. Now I get a chance at the full fleet of available wines and I couldn’t be more exciting.

Brunch at Magnolia's At the Mill Brunch at Magnolia's at the Mill Part 2
If you haven’t been to Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville then you NEED to make sure to eat there along your way. While you’re in the area you will also want to stop by Above Ground Winery (formerly 29 Vines). So for brunch, I filled my stomach with their Eggs Benedict for the entree, but started with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatos topped with Marscapone cheese, Virginia ham, and a pesto on top. BAM! Toss in a glass of the Catoctin Creek Viognier and you got yourself a rockstar brunch. Anyway, around the corner (literally less than a mile), off of Tranquility Road is Otium Cellars. Located on the Goose Creek Farm property, is this long gated road leading up to the tasting room. With a horse stable to your left and the vineyard on your left, it gives you that rustic and rural feel (minus the electronic automatic gate on the front of the property).

The tasting room at Otium CellarsFireplace in the middle of the tasting room
The tasting room is breath-taking and thats an understatement! The entire structure is all wood, from the outside to the inside, to the bar, to every element of this structure. GORGEOUS! There are 5-6 tables along the left hand wall, which consists of doors that open up to give that outdoor appeal to the tasting room. In the center of the room there is a fireplace and above the fireplace leading up to the loft is a two tier staircase. The tasting bar is VERY high, I’m 6’5 and sitting on the stool I had a hard time reaching the top of the bar, but it works out. They have almost a full kitchen setup behind the tasting bar and the tasting bar seats probably 12-15 people. The overall atmosphere is awesome. The staff which consists of mostly relatives of the owners (this particular day anyway) were awesome guys. Very friendly and I almost felt as if a couple of my friends were pouring my tasting. Anyway, the tasting fee for Otium is $5 for a regular tasting and $10 for the premium. Let me just say that if you ventured here and aren’t sure if the additional wine is worth the ten bucks, then stop worrying because it’s worth EVERY PENNY!

The tables for patrons to enjoy some wine in the tasting roomA look up at the balcony of the tasting room
Again I won’t bore you with my entire word for word description of EVERY wine but I will highlight my favorites. The 2009 Pinot Gris ($16) is a light bodied wine that hits the nose with notes of pear and apple and tastes similar to the nose but with spicy tones, and finishes super crisp. One thing I did enjoy about the tasting was that the Pinot Gris and Dornfelder they put on the tasting in a vertical manner. The 2010 Pinot Gris ($18) follows the 2009 to give you that vertical rational, and hits with subtle apple notes and smooth pear fluttering over your palate. The 2010 is VERY smooth and soft on the finish. Very enjoyable. The 2010 Chardonnay ($22) is in certain circumstances higher on the price scale but very high in traditional characteristics. Immediately you are greeted with oak on the nose and strong vanilla with caramel notes rolling through on the palate and finishing smooth and velvety. This particular blend makes some California Chards look weak. Just saying!

Enjoying a glass at the tasting barA glance behind the tasting bar
Skipping around a bit, I came upon the 2010 Pinot Noir ($20) that was very spicy on the nose and offered black cherry to the taste, finishing spicy and lingering for the perfect length. Loved it, no seriously, if I could have bought a case I would. Across Virginia I really don’t think I’ve come across any Dornfelder varietals but I did this day! The 2009 Dornfelder ($20) was luscious with a burst of plums and blackberries to the nose and taste, finishing extraordinarily velvety and smooth. Yea, I bought another bottle. The 2010 Dornfelder ($22) was very different exhibiting floral aromas and subtle blackberries and plums to the taste with a more acidic finish than the 2009. Still a great wine. I wish I had bought a bottle of the 2009 Dornfelder RESERVE ($32), however the price point was a bit high after the previous days purchases, so I had to just drool over it instead. The reserve was packed with Mocha and toasty oak notes on the nose and palate, and ever so silky on the finish leaving a chocolatey residue on the tongue (not literally). GREAT wine!

View of the vineyardAn /></center></p>
<p>The last wine that really caught me off guard, especially for a Virginia winery, was the 2010 Malbec ($36). Again I can respect the fact that the Malbec is probably not as high in content on the vineyard as the other varietals, however the price point is very high for this wine. No matter, it was amazing! Very full bodied and exhibiting very soft tannins, this wine has you covered in the ripe plum and dark cherry flavor departments, it also finishes with additional notes of chocolate which was a pleasant surprise. So on top of the tasting I ended up leaving with the 2010 Chardonnay, 2010 Pinot Noir, and the 2009 Dornfelder. There is also no question I’ll be returning to Otium, and you should too, for the Grand Opening on the weekend of May 11th - 13th. Be sure to stop by and let them know you read about Otium Cellars on the Virginia Pour House blog.</p>
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First and foremost, our sincerest apologies about our absence during the last year. We have been fortunate to have a large following over the past several years that has brought in over 100,000+ readers. We want to thank all of you! We have expanded beyond Virginia, touching many places in the United States and even spun off a travel blog to cover our International journeys. So where do we go from here? Many readers have submitted suggestions of a more digital approach. Monthly review pieces versus daily postings, video production, food pairings, wine country itineraries and even a podcast. 


  1. Windsong Winery in Goochland County also grows a nice Dornfelder http://www.windsongwinery.com

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