Wine dinners at Atria, a summer must

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Atria's wine dinner latest wine dinner included a lobster goat cheese ravioli. — Photo by Marnely Murray

An entire month’s worth of summer adventures still await us, and among our things left to do, summer wine dinners at Atria are a must on this season’s bucket list. Atria’s general manager and wine director, Sam Decker, has partnered with some of the best wineries in the country to bring them to the Island, and showcase their incredible wine at (almost) weekly wine dinners at the Edgartown restaurant.

This past week, Frog’s Leap Winery was the focus of the dinner, and Howard Imber, the winery’s East region sales manager, took guests through a progressive dinner paired with incredible food by Chefs Christian Thornton and Noah Kincaide. Frog’s Leap Winery, located in Rutherford, Napa Valley, was started by John Williams, a winemaker ahead of his time who focused on dry and organic farming before it was even a trend in the industry. In 1981, the winery produced its first wines, sauvignon blanc and zinfandel, both with grapes purchased from Spottswoode Winery.

Described as a “soulful and imperfect wine” by Mr. Imber, Frog’s Leap has embraced the drought that has attacked California for the past couple of years. Frog’s Leap varietals require only 17 inches of winter rain, so the winery makes some of the best wine in the region, thanks to the dry farming method. This method stresses the vines to literally “dig deeper” to create a more flavorful wine, since the roots dig through the soil in search of water; and on their way discover minerals, the true definition of terroir. Another feature of Frog Leap’s growing practices is that the vineyard sits within an actual working farm, with over 50 crops harvested and sold to local restaurants yearly. “It’s actually more of a farm than a winery; we just happen to be lucky to make good wine while enjoying the peaches, olives, tomatoes, limes [and more],” Mr. Imber explains.

Another benefit to Frog’s Leap wines? They are 100 percent organic, but you won’t find that on the label.

Winemaker Williams believes strongly in the fact that he is a “farmer of soil, not a maker of wine,” and he doesn’t adhere to the usual marketing strategies. Once willing to label his wine organic, he actually found that many people shy away from organic wines at the point of sale. Not having the word organic on the label, oddly enough, has been an advantage.

The Frog’s Leap offerings at Atria paired exceptionally well with the six courses served: fluke crudo, lobster goat cheese ravioli, foie gras torchon slider, Asian spiced duck breast, sesame ginger spiced tuna, and a raspberry tart with vanilla bean custard to end the night. My suggestion? Check out the list below of the upcoming wine dinners and make reservations as soon as you can. Limited seating is available, and tickets sell out fast.

Upcoming wine dinners:

  • Wednesday, August 12, Caymus Vineyards: Owned and operated by the Wagner family, Caymus Vineyards is focused on cabernet sauvignon. This dinner will guide guests through their impressive lineup from the Belle Glos to their flagship special selection.
  • Wednesday, August 19, Exploring Burgundy: A spectacular evening of food and wine hosted by Atria’s Sam Decker and wine importer Tom Modica of the Winebow Group. This pairing menu will explore the region’s history, culture, and geology.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2, Evening in Provence: This soulful region along France’s Mediterranean coast has one of the richest wine-producing cultures in Europe. Guests will taste what has long inspired chefs and wine lovers. Hosted by importer Jerry Castleman.

Atria, 137 Main Street, Edgartown. For more information, visit their website at atriawine.com or call 508-627-5850. Follow them on Instagram @AtriaMV, and like them on Facebook at facebook.com/AtriaMV.