Wine makers know when a wine has matured enough when it develops bold flavors and congratulates former rivals for the role of grape on the Fruit of the Loom label. Savor seasoned flavors with today’s Groupon: for $35, you get a five-winery cellar preview from Frederick Wine Trail (a $75 value) on January 14, 15, and 16. The following five wineries included in this Groupon:
- Elk Run Vineyard in Mount Airy
- Orchid Cellar Winery in Middletown
- Frederick Cellars in Frederick
- Linganore Wine Cellars in Mount Airy
- Distillery Lane Ciderworks in Jefferson<p>
Frederick Wine Trail’s coalition of wineries craft and age delicate varietals from 120 combined acres of vineyards that produce more than half of Maryland’s wine. Between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. each of the three days, trailblazers determine their own path to exploring the fruits of each winery, where cellar master will open massive doors forged from pressed grapes and reveal still aging wines for three barrel or tank tastings. Elk Run seals their creations in oak barrels to subtly bend flavors, and the Linganore winemakers follow Old World-techniques to delicately crush grapes for their dry and semi-sweet bottles. An estate vineyard sends their harvest to Frederick Cellars’ city winery, where their staff turns the fruit into crisp sips with steel tanks, oak barrels, and bedtime stories about the differences between city and country mice. Orchid Cellar and Distillery Lane treat tasters to nontraditional libations with sweet honey mead and ciders fermented to foster unique flavors.
A brief discussion of tasting practices encourages note taking and questions, and a logo glass accompanies newly wine-infused tasters as they head back home from rustic Frederick County. Though the trail does not provide transportation between wineries, it does provide customized directions and a suggested itinerary to prevent oenophiles from becoming lost with nothing to taste except fermented bark and road maps.
Elk Run Vineyards
Underneath the same country sky which blankets Frederick County Dairy farms and horse stables, the Elk Run vineyard sits on the rolling hills of Mt Airy on an original land grant to Lord Baltimore in 1756. These ideal growing conditions have allowed consistent award winning wines by the same winemaker Fred Wilson for 35 years, producing National and International Gold Silver and Double Gold medals for such wines as Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Gewurzrtraminer. Elk Run's winemaker crafts these libations using a blend of contemporary equipment and Old-World wine making techniques. They harvest grapes from plots planted in schist and shale soil designed to follow sustainable agricultural practices, a modus operandi that has helped the winery become one of the top 100 wineries on the East Coast, as well as one of the most acclaimed wineries in the state of Maryland.