Otium Cellars in Loudoun County opened about two years ago in the midst of a county-wide winery boom that's still going strong (at least six other wineries are opening in 2013-2014). Located down a long and winding road outside of Purcellville, Otium Cellars is actually the vineyard/winery wing of Goose Creek Farms and Winery, a private equestrian facility dedicated to raising World Class Hanoverian horses. The owners decided in 2007 to dedicate a portion of their rolling property to vineyards, with a concentration on German and French varietals.
Like several other tasting rooms in the state, Otium embraced true craftsmanship for their winery. Their tasting cabin offers two levels for partaking in cold or rainy weather, complete with a gas fireplace. As the case with so many tasting rooms, Saturdays can be hectic, with live music and crowds, but the property is vast and visitors are welcome to linger at the outdoor picnic tables, or bring their own picnic chairs.
The owners "make what they like" here. Don't expect Cab Franc; the owner/winemaker is not a fan of Virginia's favorite red. Instead, he's crafted a delicious Cab Sauv, with notes of raspberry and coffee. Their Malbec is another bold winner, complex with soft tannins.
Otium's owners are German, which explains the presence of Dornfelder, only the second winery in Virginia we've encountered that offers this varietal. Although Germany is known for white wines on the sweeter side (like Riesling), Dornfelder's early ripening and solid acidity allow it to thrive in Germany's cool climate zone, resulting in a light to medium-bodied red wine, with lower alcohol levels and occasionally a hint of sweetness.
Otium also offers a Blaufränkisch, which is commonly referred to as Lemberger and is becoming rather popular in Virginia tasting rooms, pleasing fans ready for a red outside the confines of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot and Chambourcin. This is a spicier red, rich in tannins, and will age beautifully. Bring it out in colder weather with beef stew or prime rib. They also offer a Pinot Noir, but being one of the few wineries in Northern Virginia with a Pinot Noir, they go quickly (we were unable to try it).
On the lighter side, Otium typically offers a semi dry or semi sweet table white, a Pinot Grigio, and a Chardonnay, which was a little too buttery for our taste buds. This winery will definitely be one of our "to go" places for reds.
After tasting, the owners encourage visitors to walk around the grounds and visit the animals, which include pigs, a pony, and some loud roosters. Otium is another winning daycation spot in the Napa of Northern VA (Loudoun County).