Monday, July 30, 2012

Tasting the “German” Otium Wines with Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at Otium Cellars, Virginia, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Gerhard Bauer at Otium Cellars

After spending about an hour with vine grower and wine maker Ben Renshaw in Virginia’s Tranquility Vineyard, he took us over to Otium Cellars, owned by my compatriots Gerhard and Max Bauer, where he introduced us in the tasting to the Otium Cellars wines as well as to the wines of 8 Chains North Winery. The Otium Cellars wines were also crafted by Ben Renshaw. This was part of TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia.

TasteCamp 2012 brought some 40 bloggers and writers - including me - from all over the United States and Canada to Northern Virginia on May 4-6, 2012. The concept for TasteCamp, created in 2009 by Lenn Thompson, executive editor of the New York Cork Report, is a simple one: getting enthusiastic journalists and bloggers together in a region that is new to them, to taste as much wine as possible and speak to as many winemakers as possible over the course of a weekend.

This posting is part of a series of postings on TasteCamp 2012. I have already issued the following

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont  

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

Walking Tranquility Vineyard and Tasting 8 Chains North Wines with Ben Renshaw, Virginia, USA

More postings will follow over the next couple of months on schiller-wine.

Otium Cellars

Otium Cellars is located on Goose Creek Farms and Winery near Purcellville and Round Hill a little ways off Rt. 7 in Loudoun County, Virginia on Tranquility Road.  The Bauer family named their label after the road they are located on. The word Otium is Latin and means tranquility. 

The tasting room sits atop a hill overlooking the farm which is also home to a private equestrian facility raising world class Hanoverians. “We are a private equestrian facility dedicated to raising World Class Hanoverians. We offer breeding, raising, training, sales and premier boarding at our stables” explained Gerhard Bauer.

Pictures: Otium Cellars

The tasting room is very nice. The entire structure is all wood, from the outside to the inside, to the bar, to every element of this structure. 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. A fireplace is centered in the middle of the tasting room, lined with seating allowing you to cozy up to its warmth in the cooler months.

In terms of wine he went on: “Rooted in old Franconian tradition, our boutique winery is taking wines in Northern Virginia to new heights. Our quest is focused on making high-quality wines.”

Planted in 2007, the vineyard is home to several German varietals: Lemberger, Dornfelder and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris).  “We believe wine is not only made in the cellar but is a philosophy and year-round effort in the vineyard. The vines are constantly being attended to during all four seasons. Each wine demonstrates the best aroma, character, and flavor you can achieve with the different grape varietals we cultivate . . . Each of our wines receive a specific treatment, and we call this Otium Terroir Management . . . Perfecting the ideal ripeness according to the year.”

Ben Renshaw has been working with Gerhard Bauer to produce and sell the wines of Otium Cellars while Gerhard Bauer’s winery was being built. Gerhard Bauer did his first planting on six and a half acres at Goose Creek Farms in 2007.

The Otium Cellars Wine Portfolio

Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw went through the different varietals of Otium Cellars: “Chardonnay is America's most popular grape. Our buttery style is rich and laden with tropical fruits like mango and pineapple. You will also find some flavors of caramel and vanilla.

Grauburgunder is the German name for Pinot Griggio and Pinot Gris. The Grauburgunder has a grayish-blue fruit.

Blaufränkisch is a dark-skinned grape, rich in tannin with a spicy character. The wines have aromas of dark ripe cherries and dark berries, are spicy and have medium tannin with very good acidity. Young wines are deeply fruity and become more velvety, supple and complex with age.

Dornfelder is a dark skinned grape with deep color and powerful flavor. The wines have a depth of color, good acidity and the ability to benefit from barrique aging and the associated oak flavors. Our Dornfelder wines are velvety textured, slightly floral, show some flavors of plums, blackberries and cherries.

Pictures: Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at the Tasting

The elegant finish of this wine with its berry flavors and dense, ripe fruit aromas gives the palate a structured and silky core of vivid fruit. Aged in small oak barrels, this Cabernet Sauvignon imparts a subtle mocha.

The result of our way to grow wine and handle grapes is an elegant wine with strong black cherry flavors and an unexpected hint of violet and spice that we believe conveys the essence of a Virginia Pinot Noir.

Our finest Malbec grapes are hand selected and aged in oak barrels. This full-bodied, intensely flavorful wine has soft, round tannins with layers of ripe plum, blackberry and dark cherry accented by hints of brown spice and chocolate.”

The Tasting

Here is what we tasted.

2010 Pinot Gris – a medium bodied wine with aromas of pear, apple and melon. $18

2010 Pinot Noir - black cherry flavors with a hint of spice, good body, and great finish. $20

2010 Blaufraenkisch - still a little young, but already showing great fruit flavors with spice thrown in, the wine is rich in tannin and will certainly become more velvety and supple with age. $28

2009 Dornfelder -  a dark red full-bodied wine, with plum and blackberry flavors, great, toasty finish.

2010 Malbec - with plum, cherry, and berry flavors enhanced with a subtle spiciness and a great finish.  The Malbec grapes are the only grapes in the line up that are not estate grown - they come from Furnace Mountain vineyard.

schiller-wine: Related Posting

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

The Wines of Veramar, Virginia, US

The 2010 DrinkLocalWine Conference in Virginia, US

Thomas Jefferson, 3. President of the United States, Visited Hochheim, Germany on April 10,1978

Top Virginia Red Wines - Governors Cup 2010

Norton and Other Wines of Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia

Fine Virginia Wines from Corcoran Vineyards

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

Virginia Wine and Lots of Fun: The 30th Annual Vintage Virginia Wine Festival in Centreville

Wining, Dining and Grovin' at the 36th Annual Virginia Wine Festival in Centreville, USA

Touring Virginia Wineries - Fabbioli Cellars, 8 Chains North and Breaux Vineyards - with Virginia Wine Expert Allan Liska

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Visiting Wine Maker Doug Fabbioli and his Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, USA

Meeting Virginia and Bordeaux Wine Expert and Wine Blogger Allan Liska, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

Judging Virginia Wines in Suffolk, Virginia - Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic 2012

Walking Tranquility Vineyard and Tasting 8 Chains North Wines with Ben Renshaw, Virginia, USA 

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