After Samantha and Jarrod Davis took the reins at the venerable restaurant A Table Apart in Bonita Springs several years ago, they put their own stamp on the place, mixing in flavors from a broader panoply of countries, like India and Japan.
The wine list takes a similar approach, balancing a gamut of styles throughout its well-curated selection of international offerings. France was a focus at a wine dinner in the autumn, and a diverse lineup of wines from various regions highlighted the nuanced flavors on the plate.
One standout, notes sommelier Christopher Cunningham, was the Vidal-Fleury Vacqueyras. From a renowned Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in Southern Rhône, this traditional grenache, syrah and mourvèdre blend has a lithe profile and silky texture, especially in comparison to cuvées from neighboring regions. With notes of red and black plum, wild herbs and mushrooms, it paired especially well with fromage de chèvre, a goat cheese dish with roasted beets and arugula. “Goat cheese and a lighter style wine are perfect together,” Cunningham says.
Considered the oldest winery in the Rhône Valley, Vidal-Fleury was founded in 1781 in the Northern Rhône appellation of Côte Rôtie. The quality of the wines quickly caught international attention; a point of pride for the estate was a visit from future president (and avowed wine lover) Thomas Jefferson in 1787. Later on, in 1920, Vidal-Fleury expanded its reach into the south, but it wasn’t until 1960 when the estate began making wine in Vacqueyras, winemaker Guy Sarton Du Jonchay says. Today Vidal-Fleury produces bottlings from 19 different AOCs in the Rhône.
The differences between the north and south are dramatic; syrah and viognier dominate plantings in the north, while blends—mostly comprised of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre—create Southern Rhône’s distinct style.
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Photography by Brian Tietz