Sun and Rain at Otium Cellars

Today was a good day, the warmest and sunniest so far this season, and as Spring Break winds towards inevitable conclusion, it seemed like a good time to take dad to lunch and a new spot. And off we went to Otium Cellars, near Purcellville.

Otium has been on my radar for a bit, and was listed on the Loudoun wineries website, so it was time to check it out. It was a quiet day. We entered the empty tasting room at about 12:30, and a couple came in a few minutes after. There was a young tasting associate and another employee there, debating the merits of population growth in Northern Virginia.

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The tasting room has a cute loft area, and ample seating.

The tasting flight had four whites and six reds on it, a pretty generous assortment. Some were grapes that were new to me, German in origin. I was pretty surprised that they grew here, and shared that with the tasting associate, who seemed a little nonplussed.

The 2016 Pinot Gris was a good example, albeit a little on the sweet side. It had a sweet melon characteristic that was ok, but didn’t wow me. A new-to-me grape was the Gruner Veltliner. This has a nice balance of acidity and fruit. It was their best white on the menu. They had a regular chardonnay and reserve chardonnay. I didn’t care much for either of these. The regular had a long honey finish to it, which surprised me, and the reserve, literally, tasted like “buttered popcorn,” which is how the taster described it.

We moved to the reds. The first two were Blaufrankisch, a regular and a reserve. The regular one reminded me a lot of Cab Franc. The reserve was less appealing to me, probably because the cab franc-like nature of the previous one was absent in this one, and there was more oak to it. The 2014 merlot was heavy on the black cherry flavor, and was a nice example of the fruit. The 2014 Malbec Reserve was a solid example of this grape, pleasantly fruity with soft tannin in it. The plum and dark cherry came through well. We had the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was surprising tannic and astringent. I was curious about the aging of it in small oak barrels so that it had more exposure to the wood, and then the barrels were blended back together. It definitely provided it a different flavor at the end. Finally there was a “semi-sweet” wine at the end, the 2015 J.R. Dornfelder – which wasn’t sweet at all, and really, almost reminded me of chambourcin.

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Dad and I liked the malbec enough to get a bottle and sit outside in the sun with it. The sun disappeared and we started to get pelted with raindrops, so we ran back inside and finished the bottle at a table. By the time we were done, the rain stopped, the sun was out, and we were ready to go.

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All in all, I enjoyed the spot, and the malbec, merlot, and cab sauv were pretty solid, and the Gruner Veltliner was really interesting. I was excited to get the malbec, albeit a day late for #MalbecWorldDay. I love finding Virginia Malbecs.

On the way back, dad and I decided to stop at Stone Tower also and enjoy a glass of their west coast malbec. It was sunny and we sat in the shade on the back deck.

This view just thrills me – the rows and rows of grapes, and then the mountains in the distance.  It’s so peaceful and wonderful.  All in all, a great day to be out and about to finish up the Spring Break time. It’s always good to explore new places and check out their wines! Where to next?

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