A meal at Septime: Dordogne pork and a whole new appreciation for Beaujolais!
My brother and my sister-in-law were visiting me in Paris recently and I took them to eat at my favorite restaurant in the entire world – Septime! Septime is an amazing restaurant in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Chef Bertrand Grébaut is very creative with his menu and always maintains the integrity of each of his ingredients in his dishes. Every time I come to Paris, I make sure to have a meal here.
The menu changes frequently. The day that we ate there, for the appetizers, we had a choice between jack mackerel, beetroot with feta, and leeks with smoked egg and cecina de Leon. My brother had the leeks, my sister-in-law had the beetroot and I chose the jack mackerel, which was served with kohlrabi, cornichons, parsley oil, and raw cream (I absolutely love raw cream. I dollop it on my baguette with blueberry preserves every morning).
For the entrée, we had a choice between monkfish and pork from the Dordogne region of France. Since we had eaten monkfish for last night’s dinner, we all chose the pork. The pork was served with roasted onions, a jus with tamarind, and toasted buckwheat.
For my wine pairing with the pork, I chose a 2013 Beaujolais Villages made by Jean Claude Lapalu. The name of the wine is Tentation. Beaujolais often gets a bad rap because of the mass produced Beaujolais Nouveau that often sacrifices quality for quantity and that is unfortunately most of the Beaujolais we see on the shelves. However, there is much better Beaujolais out there! Beaujolais Villages and especially Beaujolais Cru are much higher quality wines and they are definitely worth a try. There are some really notable wine makers in the region and the Tentation is a great bottle of wine in the Beaujolais Villages classification.
The Tentation is a beautiful bright ruby color. It is bursting with fruit aromas, especially cherries, which are on the jammy side. There are also some warm and sweet spices as well as just a hint of earthiness. This is definitely a lot more complex than your typical, mass produced Beaujolais Nouveau.
Three characteristics of this wine make it a great choice for the pork dish. First, Beaujolais is made 100% with the gamay grape, which produces a fruitier wine. The vinification process contributes even more to the fruitiness of this wine. The Tentation is made using the carbonic maceration technique, where whole grapes (rather than macerated ones) are fermented in an environment rich in carbon dioxide. Fermentation of whole grapes rather than the juice, is another factor that contributes to the fruitiness of this Beaujolais. In fact, the Tentation so fruity that it feels like cherries are exploding in my mouth. Overall, Beaujolais and pork are a fantastic pairing, whether you’re serving pork loin or a plate of charcuterie. Pork loves fruit and the fruitiness of the Tentation makes it a great accompaniment to this dish.
Second, This wine is also quite light. It has a relatively low alcohol content (12%), is very light and refreshing in flavors, and is super low in tannins. Because the gamay has a thin skin, it produces a red wine that’s light in tannins and gives it a much lighter body. The carbonic maceration technique also contributes to low level of tannins in wine. The pork that we had was light. It was simply roasted and served with a light tamarind jus. The lightness of the Beaujolais worked really well with the food whereas a heavier wine would definitely overpower it.
Finally, this wine is very juicy – it definitely satisfies your thirst. Pork is one of those meats that can easily become dry, in which case the thirst quenching quality of the wine would be a great addition to the meal. Our pork of course was expertly cooked and it was already super soft and juicy 🙂
Overall, this was yet another heavenly meal in my favorite restaurant. I love coming to Septime! They always have amazing food and very interesting wines. They also sell the wines featured in the restaurant in the wine bar they opened around the corner at rue Basfroi. I’ve gotten quite a few interesting bottles of wines to take home with me.
And to leave us all drooling, here is a small selection of pictures from previous meals I’ve had at Septime.
Below, the onions at the top of the plate were to die for. So much flavor!
Below, on the left is the organic sheep’s milk cheese from Larzac that I fell in love with. After I tasted it in the restaurant, I searched high and low to find this cheese in Paris. Now, it is always on my list of cheeses to bring back home with me. So tasty!