Petite Beef Filet is a mini version of a Filet Mignon cut that ranges from about 6 to 8 ounces. Where it differs is that the Petite Filet comes from the chuck (shoulder) region of the cow and is less expensive, and due to its small size, it cooks up incredibly fast. Similar to filet mignon, you’ll have a flavourful and juicy cut of meat. You may also see this cut of steak referred to as Petite Tender, Bistro Filet and Shoulder Tender, and Teres Major (which is the actual name of the muscle).
Similar to Beef Tenderloin and Filet Mignon, Petite Filet pairs up with mature red wines like Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Côtes du Rhône, Merlot, and Rioja Reserva. Lighter reds with a touch of earthiness such as Chianti Classico and Pinot Noir make excellent pairings as well.
In the past, Petite Filet was not commonly seen in supermarkets or restaurants as it takes effort to get to this cut by processing plants and butchers. However, it is gaining traction, and I feel (due to the lower cost of this cut) that it will become more popular.
Cabernet Sauvignon & Petit Filet Pairing
For this pairing to work, you’ll require an aged and fully mature Cabernet Sauvignon, where the tannin has been smoothed out over time. Petite Filet is not loaded with fat, so you can not depend on it to soften the harsh tannins found in a young Cabernet Sauvignon. When fully aged, however, the tannin will not get in the way of the sultry blackcurrant and plum flavours that swim within a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. The more subtle flavours of leather, pencil shavings, menthol and cigar box are also given their time to shine and complement the beefier flavours of Petite Filet.
Merlot & Bistro Filet Pairing
Merlot is sometimes a tricky wine to nail down. Most Merlot I have come across are medium-bodied with notes of plum and chocolate, however, on other occasions, I’ve got a glass of Merlot that mimics a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with all its tannin glory.
With Bistro Filet or Petit Filet, you’ll want to reach for the medium-bodied Merlot, or a mature Merlot if you have one on hand. The plum and chocolate flavours mesh incredibly with the subtle beef flavours of Bistro Filet, and the supple flavours of Merlot will match the buttery and silky texture of this lean and juicy cut of beef.
Bordeaux & Bistro Filet Pairing
Merlot is also present and the dominant grape in a right-bank Bordeaux. Bordeaux, I believe, would be the best pairing for a cut of Bistro Filet. I am hesitant to recommend it as there is a bit of a learning curve in establishing what Bordeaux would make for the best pairing. With Bistro Filet being a much cheaper cut of beef, it does give you some wiggle room to experiment.
Bordeaux is a blend of five wines from France. Right-bank Bordeaux features Merlot as the dominant grape, while Left-bank Bordeaux features Cabernet Sauvignon. Because the wine is blended, it comes off as incredibly food-friendly. However, as the wine features Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the wine can be harsh with tannin when young. Right-bank tends to be softer, but the wine may still need to be cellared or aged depending on how the winemaker produced the wine.
Bordeaux is one of the most sought after red wines and can command hefty prices. There are budget-friendly examples of Bordeaux that will be delicious with Bistro Filet but you may have to crack open a bottle beforehand and taste test to see if the tannin is harsh. If so, pair that beauty up with a fattier cut of beef like a NY Steak, or a roast beef dinner.
Chianti Classico & Petit Filet Pairing
Chianti Classico is an Italian red wine that is balanced with tannin and acidity. This means, the tannin never tastes harsh, as the acidity of the wine kicks in and evens the keel for some smooth sailing ahead. Chianti isn’t a wine for everyone. While it is medium-bodied and fruity, it has a rustic and herbal quality that not everyone loves. However, you don’t have to bottle age Chianiti for decades before it’s ready to drink with a Petit Filet as the wine is ready to go once it hits shelfs.
As Petit Filet is quite affordable, it gives you an opportunity to experiment with wines you may not have tried or experienced before. Thus, if you are not familiar with Chianti, and Petit Filet is on the menu, I highly recommend you give Chianti a chance to warm you over.
Côtes du Rhône & Petite Filet Pairing
Côtes du Rhône rounds up my top five choices for Petite Filet and wine pairings. Côtes du Rhône is another blended red wine from France, and may vary in style. The dominant grape with Côtes du Rhône tends to be Grenache, but it may also have 22 other grape varietals blended in.
Côtes du Rhône is meant to be enjoyed with food, which is why it works so well with Petite Filet. Côtes du Rhône is normally ready to drink, low in tannin, dry, and fruity without being bombastic. Thus those tender Petite Filet beefy flavours will not be crushed by this everyday drinking wine.