Both of our fearless leaders, Allan of Cellarblog and Leah of DcGastronome, were in attendance at the wine club happy hour! It was great to see Leah again and to meet Allan for the first. And I must say, Leah picked a fabulous place for the event.
Piola is in Rosslyn and specializes in thin crust pizzas of every possible variety. They also have an awesome happy hour where wines by the glass are half price and appetizers are free and plentiful.
I arrived just after 5:30 and already there were at least 6 wine club members in attendance. Over the course of the evening we had about 20 members attend, including several new people. It’s always great to et the chance to meet more wine lovers! I started out with a glass of the house white, which is literally, the house’s. Piola offers both a white and a red house wine, produced and blended in Italy with their name. The white Blanco Piola was light and fruity with notes of lemon and spice. On first taste I thought it had Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc in it. It had those and Garganego and Seprino. It came in at $3.50 a glass with the special, which I thought was a decent value for an easy to drink white.
I moved on from there to the Rosso Piola, also $3.50 with the discount. The wine was 12.5% alcohol by volume and more complex than the white. It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This one had all spice and cherry on the nose. In the mouth there were cherries, raspberries and raisins, plus a bit of an earthy quality. I liked this one better than the white, and over the course of the evening our group consummed several bottles.
The free appetizers at happy hour were great! When I came in there were cheese trays out on the bar and the wine club had taken over the couch area for the evening. Soon, trays of hot appetizers came around and the servers were incredibly attentive to us, bringing us full trays of everything! My favorite was the gorgonzola and prosciutto bruschetta, followed by a a prosciutto sandwhich on nice salty flat bread. Then they came around with full plates of pasta salad that was done with fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and olive oil. It was great. I also saw pizza and they put an entire appetizer of toasted pita triangles and eggplant dip on our table. You could really have made a meal on all the free appetizers, and I was really impressed with the service and variety.
Ten wine club members decided to stay for dinner after happy hour and we were seated very quickly at a big table that was easily able to accomodate our party. Many different pizzas were ordered and enjoyed by the group. Matt had the Pizza Carbonara, which literally had bacon, eggs, cheese, etc. on it. It looked great. I believe Leah and Jeff also had one of these. It looked like Allan enjoyed his prosciutto pizza and I had a pizza with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and brie which was delicious. I just finished eating some of the leftovers for lunch.
I think everyone had a great time and I am looking forward to our next event. Piola was a great choice and I would definitely return. The appetizers alone made it fantastic, but that combined with low prices on the pizza, good service and good food pushed it over the top. The wine list does need help, but everything else was up to snuff.