Modern French cuisine is the focus of this Boston restaurant which offers more than 45 wines by the glass and a 500-bottle wine list focusing on mature Bordeaux and Burgundy. A classic on the menu is the Roast Suckling Pig, paired with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Wine Enthusiast talked with Executive Chef Scott Hebert about the bourgeoning pig-roast trend and the perfect beverage companions for the succulent, smoky meat.
Wine Enthusiast: Your ideal wine pairing for the signature Roast Suckling Pig is Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Why does this Southern Rhône red pair so well this dish?
Scott Hebert: Southern Rhône wines are always so rustic but at the same time fruit forward, especially the Grenache-based wines. We prepare each part of the pig differently. We confit part of it, and we roast or sear the other parts, so the complexity of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape works beautifully. Plus, that region has so many excellent vintages over the past 10–12 years that it makes pairing them with food deliciously consistent.
W.E.: When roasting a pig, there are a variety of sauces and smoking procedures to enhance the meat’s flavor. How does the choice of sauce or smoke affect the wine pairing?
S.H.: Too much smoke can easily overwhelm a preparation. We prefer a more balanced approach by slow roasting and confiting the meat, which keeps it moist and very flavorful. The gently smoky characteristics of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape add another layer of flavor complexity.
W.E.: In many regions, restaurants compete in pig-roasting events, such as Cochon 555, which tours around the country. Do you participate in any pig roast competitions? Are there or will there be any in the Northeast?
S.H.: We don’t serve our Suckling Pig outside the restaurant because the cooking process is so complicated. Each part of the pig has a different preparation and cooking time to ensure optimum doneness and flavor. When we get 20–25 pound pigs in, we butcher them right away and prepare each piece to enhance its unique flavor characteristics.
W.E.: If a guest prefers to enjoy your Roast Suckling Pig with a cocktail rather than wine, what cocktails work best with this dish?
S.H.: We are definitely a wine-focused restaurant, but a Cuban Manhattan with dark rum instead of Bourbon would be savory and complex. For beer fans, the Corsendonk Brown Ale’s roasted malts and Belgian yeast pair beautifully with the pork and accompanying celery root coleslaw.