Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sauvage, a new natural wine bar discovery in rue du Cherche Midi, Paris

While we pick up most of our recommendations online, it’s always good to discover somewhere for yourself as we did a couple of months back heading back up the rue du Cherche Midi and stumbling upon Sauvage.

Having recently opened it consisted of a few shelves of natural wines and the standard wine bar fare of cheese and charcuterie. Now it has a few hot dishes too prepared in a minute space at the back by the owner Sebastien Leroy with the aid of a sharp knife, a microwave and a slow cooker.

Given the fact that Leroy has to combine the roles of salesman, sommelier, chef and front of house (and presumably washer-upper) the operation runs surprisingly smoothly. If you sit down and order a couple of glasses of wine (a slightly wild pet nat - La Buelloise from La Grapperie in our case) you get a few slices of excellent saucisson with it.

Leroy rattles off the menu - there’s no written version so it pays to have a smattering of French - which includes oysters, mackerel, some kind of fish I didn’t catch and sausage de Morteau with carrots. The oysters which we could hear being shucked in the background were wonderfully fresh and salty, perfect with the utterly delicious 2012 Sorcellerie dry chenin from Francois Maudet’s Le Temps d’Aimer (GREEN TO AMBER - see my traffic light ratings on the right) that he suggested to go with them, a generous hunk of beurre de sel and some thickly sliced dark rye bread.

The satisfyingly meaty, slightly smokey sausage came with sweet-tasting heritage carrots which I gather from the ‘ping’ were microwaved (nothing wrong with that) then had some shavings of carrot added to the hot broth for an interesting textural contrast. Very simple but a first class use of good seasonal ingredients, following the natural wine philosophy of adding nothing and taking nothing away. Considering his background is apparently in film rather than a restaurant kitchen according to this review in Le Fooding, Leroy can cook a bit.

A selection of Sauvage's wines - not the ones we tasted
The wine selection is modest but eclectic with not many names i recognised apart from Sebastien Riffault but Leroy says he tries to stock wines that aren’t available elsewhere. The ‘Malice’ Cab Franc we had with the sausage, also from Maudet was delicious too though slightly funkier (AMBER). I can’t find out much about the domaine at all other than that he’s just south of Angers. Certainly one to look out for.

It was hard to keep track of exactly what we spent because there wasn’t a bill and we the took the remains of the two bottles we started away to finish over the weekend. But I’m guessing the wine came to about half our €112 total. You could certainly get away with a lot less.

Sauvage is at 60 rue du Cherche Midi, 76006 Paris (the 6e) and on Facebook at cave.sauvage. Closed Sunday after 3 and Mondays. Open 10-3 Tues & Wednesday and 10-11pm Thursday-Saturday

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