Friday, February 22, 2013

National Drink Wine Day

Who knew this grand holiday existed??  I didn't, but of course I was game to celebrate.  A day early, even.  I love Groupon and LivingSocial deals in that I always seem to find something that truly is a great deal (or at least I convince myself of that) and it's an easy way to force yourself to try something new.  So, when a deal popped up for The Winery at Olney, I jumped on it.  I knew it was in Maryland, but that's about it.  I also knew I'd be able to convince one of my best friends, Liz, to join me.  We hadn't seen each other since my birthday, so a catch-up was well overdue.

Once I looked up the winery to see what I would be tasting, I discovered the location was a shopping center!  I'll admit I was a bit surprised, but after my visit I'm wishing more shopping centers embraced this concept.  Granted there was no picturesque setting that you get at most wineries, but it was nice to not have to drive super far from the city to get a full winery experience.

The Winery at Olney has a very large selection of wines (27 different choices, all made on-site) and the best part is that you get to pick the five you want to taste.  No preset list, no restrictions!  The only problem we ran into is that they were out of some of the wines.  Sad face.  Our deal included a tasting, a gourmet cheese and Artisan cracker plate, and a souvenir glass. The cheese platter featured smoked Gouda, Parmesan, goat cheese, Gorgonzola and sharp cheddar.  When we finished the tasting we still had cheese to eat and chatting to do, so we decided to do another round of tasting.  Thank goodness, because this is when I found my two favorite wines of the day.  I have definitely branched out and now appreciate a good red wine, but two of the fruit wines won me over.  108 Blackberry (a blackberry Merlot named after a local highway) and Georgia Avenue (a peach Chardonnay also named after a local highway) were my faves.  I am normally not a Chardonnay fan, but the peach goes so nicely with it.  I could have drank glass after glass of the Merlot, so I opted for a bottle of the 108.  Other top choices of the day were the Incan Roja Malbec and a not-too-sweet Riesling called Nectar of the Gods.

The inside of the winery is very modern, yet cozy with a warm color scheme and even a pseudo fireplace via flatscreen tv.  The tasting bar is the central focus, with some couches towards the front and tables for larger groups in the back.  The only thing missing come spring/summer is a patio area.  The staff was attentive, friendly and welcoming.  So much so that we ended up at the tasting bar for three hours.  We were glad to have arrived shortly after they opened at noon because by 3pm, the place was packed! We would soon leave to eat lunch and return for ONE more glass of wine.

Sometimes I redeem a deal and never think twice about the business, but I'll definitely be back to Olney.  The array of events offered certainly helps.  Everything from wine and food pairings to a snow tubing trip in addition to weekly happy hour specials, means there's something for everyone.

How did you celebrate National Drink Wine Day??

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