The Bordeaux region of France is one of the most noteworthy winemaking regions in the entire world. It’s prized by both wine aficionados and newcomers alike due to its rich flavor, complexity and refined characteristics. While both red and white wines are produced in Bordeaux, it’s typically the red blends that are most prized by consumers.
Bordeaux red wines are complex, with rich mineral flavors, earthy tones and refined red, black & blue fruit. Today, we’ll be looking at the best Bordeaux food pairings & recipes for a couple styles of Bordeaux red wine.
A “Bordeaux” red blend (also called a Claret) is typically made from at least two grape varieties, however there are up to 5 grape varieties that are approved to be utilized when making a red wine in the Bordeaux region. Those grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Bordeaux Food Pairings – Left & Right Bank Red Blends
Also worth noting is that there are several sub-regions within the Bordeaux winemaking region of France. Depending on location, some red wines may be more Cabernet Sauvignon heavy, while others may be more Merlot dominant. For simplicities sake, we’re going to split Bordeaux in two and discuss two typical winemaking styles in the region that most commonly utilized.
There’s your classic “Left Bank” Bordeaux red blend, as well as your classic “Right Bank” Bordeaux red blend, depending what side of the River Gironde the wine was produced. Left Bank Bordeaux’s, like the ones produced in Haut-Medoc, tend to be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. Right Bank Bordeaux’s, such as those from Bourg or Blays, tend to be Merlot dominant.
Below, we’ll discuss which food pairings are best for Bordeaux red wines depending what regional style you’ll be drinking. Note that while these food pairings may be somewhat specific, the casual drinker will find success with these food pairings regardless of what specific Bordeaux they’re drinking. If you’re not sure what side of the River Gironde your Bordeaux is from — no worries. We’ll break down food pairings by style of food as well.
The Best Bordeaux Food Pairings & Recipes
Think meat. Yes, you can pair Bordeaux’s with other kinds of food, but you’ll be maximizing flavor the most if you cook a meat based dish. Separately, if your Bordeaux is from the Left Bank, it’s heavy on the Cabernet Sauvignon front. Thus, it will be fuller-bodied with more rugged tannins, red fruit and earth. Left Bank Bordeaux red blends pair nicely with heavy, saltier and spicier steaks & lamb, while Right Bank Bordeaux’s pair nicely with softer and more savory meats, like pork.
Pairing Bordeaux Red Wines with Food
- Ideal for an Appetizer, try utilizing pan-seared onions, cilantro and spicy parmesan crackers as a base
- Lamb is a naturally richer meat, making it ideal for Left Bank pairings. Fennel helps to accentuate the earthiness in the wine while the orange helps mellow out the spice and mineral notes with a hint of sweetness.
- A burger doesn’t get more epic than this. Sugary bacon backed by maple and sharp cheddar will accent any refined yet rich Left Bank Bordeaux red blend.
Chipotle Grilled Filet Mignon in Mango Salsa with 4 Cheese Rissotto
- Filet Mignon in and of itself works well no matter how you marinate it with Bordeaux wines. However, since we’re going Left Bank here, consider adding some spice and sweetness with Chipotle sauce and Mango salsa.
- Again, sticking with the steak theme here and bringing in an outside hint of oaky Bourbon, this Filet alongside potato-leeks is sure to please any dinner party guest. Mushrooms accent typical Bordeaux earth tones exceedingly well. Don’t be afraid to break off from this recipe and incorporate your own spices and sauces.
- Not huge on red meats? Try this Caramel Chicken recipe from Bonappetit as a food pairing. It’s savory, yet loaded with cloves, ginger and soy sauce. The saucy additions to this chicken recipe help accentuate many of the savory aspects of a Bordeaux red blend.
Right Bank Bordeaux Food Pairings Recipes
- Black & Blue fruit Merlot heavy Bordeaux red blends go wonderfully with anything barbecue. Pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches are ideal for appetizers and lunches.
- Right Bank Bordeaux red blends are typically a little bit lighter in body. Therefor, it’s more than acceptable to utilize chicken as a food pairing base. I always prefer sticking with savory and sweet plates for Merlot dominant blends. Barbecue chicken pizza with red onions and cilantro will give you the perfect pairing, guaranteed.
- Even though Bordeaux is in France, ironically enough many Asian dishes and sauces bring out Right bank flavors quite nicely. These pork chops are done in Apple Cider vinegar, Asian sweet chili-sauce and garlic.
- Flank steak tends to be on the leaner side, so it makes for a great Right Bank Bordeaux food pairing since… well, Merlot dominant Bordeaux blends tend to be leaner themselves. Try this flank steak with red wine vinegar.
- Shepards Pie makes for a great food pairing with Bordeaux red blends since you can add so many spices and mix it with various forms of ground or chopped beef.