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There is nothing I like more than being welcomed with a cool glass of bubbly, and that's exactly how the lunch at Septima starts. This is the seventh of cava producer Codorníu’s wine adventures abroad and so it is no surprise that sparkling wine is one of their strong points.
With a glass of fizz in hand is also the perfect way to appreciate the stunning Andes mountain view that spreads out in front of the restaurant. With a wide, open terrace the 360 view of Mendoza's vineyards and mountain landscape is the ideal spot for a long leisurely lunch, and a long and leisurely lunch is what we were in for.
The dining room at Bodega Séptima
Kicking off with a warm and gooey block of deep fried camembert that was cut through by the acidity of the onions caramelised in the very sparkling rose we were drinking, this was an extravagant start to the meal.
The extravagance didn't mellow down as we got served white chocolate for the next course! The white chocolate came whipped together with a smooth pumpkin puree, a sprinkle of mushroom soil, and a juicy slice of citrus-salmon. Creative and delicious!
Taking the time to enjoy a wine-paired lunch in Mendoza is one of my all-time favourite pastimes, but you can easily get steak and Malbec fatigue... Not at Septima! The main course was a textural combo of crisp pork milanesa, smooth cauliflower puree, smokey yellow pepper emulsion, crunchy sweet potato balls and a fresh pear salad. All paired with a fruit-forward, smooth and spicy Cab. This menu was proudly boasting some of Mendoza's unsung heroes of flavour: the ‘milanesa’ and Cabernet Sauvignon.
At this point I probably could have taken a siesta on the inviting sun lounges outside, but dessert was calling. A pink, chocolatey feast of praline, truffle, champagne jelly and wine-flavoured ice cream paired with another glass of bubbly was the ultimate final indulgence. Like the bubbles in my glass, I was floating to a different level - and ready to pop!
At the end of the meal Septima’s chef Marcos Zabaleta was circulating the restaurant asking for feedback and explaining more elements of the menu and pairing choices. “I love to pair sparkling wine with food so that people realise that sparkling wine is for more than just a cocktail or dessert!” He is of course right, and Septima’s innovative menu takes bold and creative food and wine pairing choices that are out of the box for Mendoza.
As winner of the Great Wine Capitals Best Winery Restaurant last year, it is applaudable to see a such a playful menu showing a different side to the flavours of Mendoza. And it certainly left a good taste in my mouth!
Text: Amanda Barnes
Photos courtesy of Bodega Séptima