Ristorante Capeo Lands A Familiar Name On Its Wine List

The wine list at Ristorante Capeo in North Little Rock just got more impressive.

Last month, after about a year of slicing through red tape, the Italian restaurant landed wine from the Chateau Dassault winery in France. Dassault’s wine is otherwise available in the United States only in New York and New Jersey.

The winery is owned by the Dassault family, which also owns Dassault Falcon of France, which designs, manufactures and sells fighter jets and business airplanes. Dassault has about 1 million SF of hangar and office space near Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.

Dassault officials are “good customers” at Capeo, which is where restaurant co-owner Brian Isaac learned about the French vineyard that “made a really nice Bordeaux.”

But getting the wine was not easy. He said winemakers in France have to go through a middleman to sell the wine. The restaurant turned to L&L Imports of Bentonville for help bringing Chateau Dassault to Arkansas. L&L is a supplier of wines, beers and spirits from noted producers around the world. The distribution of the wine is being handled by Moon Distributors of Little Rock.

Isaac, who owns the restaurant with his brother, Eric, who is the chef, said Capeo might not have the local monopoly on the wine for long. Since Capeo has made inroads in bringing the wine to Arkansas, it will be easier for other companies to get it, Brian Isaac said.

But it won’t be cheap. Capeo offers the Dassault’s 2005 Bordeaux for $200 a bottle. That vintage has received rave reviews.

Wine Spectator’s review of the wine said: “Dark in color, with gorgeous aromas of dark chocolate and ripe blackberry, raspberry and spices. Full-bodied, with Indian spices, cappuccino and blueberry. The quality of the tannins is lovely. Best after 2012.”

Capeo, at 425 Main St. in the Argenta district, generated $547,000 in food sales in 2013, not including alcohol. That was down 1.7 percent from 2012, according to tax records maintained by the North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.