A Guide To Food Pairing Red Bordeaux Wines Of Various Styles – With Recipes

By | Travel & Wine Writer, Co-Founder
Last Updated: January 13, 2024
Food Pairing for Bordeaux Red Wines | Winetraveler.com

Pairing Red Bordeaux Wines with Food

The Bordeaux region of France is one of the most noteworthy winemaking regions in the entire world. Wines from here are prized by both wine aficionados and newcomers alike due to their 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 sought after by consumers.

The best Bordeaux red wines are complex. They can include rich mineral flavors, earthy tones, and refined red, black and blue fruit. Today, we’ll be looking at the best Bordeaux food pairings and recipes for various styles of Red Bordeaux Wine.

Defining the Classic “Bordeaux Blend”

A “Bordeaux” red blend (also called a Claret) is typically made from at least two grape varieties, however, there are currently 6 grape varieties that are approved to be utilized when making red wine in the Bordeaux region. Those grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

Fun Fact: Bordeaux is currently experimenting with dozens of other grape varieties not native to the region, in an effort to get ahead of the curve should climate begin to affect traditional blends. Some of these experimental varieties include Touriga Nacional, Tempranillo, Grenache, and many others.


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Bordeaux Wine region Map
While Bordeaux includes many sub-regions, for the sake of this food pairing guide we’re splitting it between the left and right banks of the Garonne river.

The Best Food Pairings for Bordeaux Red Wines: Left & Right Bank Red Blends

There are dozens of sub-regions within the Bordeaux winemaking region of France (38 in fact at the time of writing). Depending on location, some red wines may be more Cabernet Sauvignon heavy, while others may be more Merlot dominant. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to split Bordeaux in two and discuss two typical winemaking styles in the region that are most commonly utilized.

RELATED: 30 Top Bordeaux Wineries You Need To Visit in France

There’s your classic “Left Bank” Bordeaux red blend, as well as your classic “Right Bank” Bordeaux red blend, depending on what side of the Garonne River the wine was produced. Left Bank Bordeaux, which includes sub-regions like Haut-Medoc and Margaux, tend to be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. Right Bank Bordeaux, like those from Bourg, Saint-Émilion or Blays, tend to be Merlot dominant.

Below, we’ll discuss which food pairings are best for Bordeaux red wines depending on what regional style you’re drinking. Note that while these food pairings may be somewhat specific, casual drinkers will find success with these food pairings regardless of what specific Bordeaux they’re drinking. If you’re not sure what side of the Garonne River your Bordeaux is from, no worries. We’ll break down food pairings by food style as well.

Bordeaux Wine Pairing Concept

Think meat. Yes, you can pair Bordeaux with other kinds of food, but you’ll be maximizing flavor the most if you’re eating a meat-based dish.

Separately, if your Bordeaux is from the Left Bank, it’s going to be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. Thus, it will typically contain more rugged tannins, red fruit, and earth. Left Bank Bordeaux red blends pair nicely with heavy, fattier, saltier, and spicier steaks and lamb. Right Bank Bordeaux (think Merlot) pair nicely with leaner or more savory meats, like pork or duck.

Pairing Steak and Filet Mignon with Red Bordeaux Wines
Filet mignon paired with a luscious Haut-Medoc or Margaux red blend is a match made in heaven. Take a look at some of these delicious and affordable Bordeaux blends you can order and have delivered by Wine.com.

Left Bank Red Bordeaux Food Pairing Recipes

Super Sirloin Steak & Onion Bites

Ideal for an Appetizer, try using pan-seared onions, cilantro, and spicy parmesan crackers as a base.

Braised Lamb Shoulder with Fennel and Orange

Lamb is 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.

Bordeaux Wine and Hamburger Food Pairing
You don’t need to have an expensive meal alongside a bottle of Bordeaux to have a successful pairing. Cheeseburgers pair wonderfully with most Bordeaux wines, especially those from the left bank.

Candied Bacon Maple Cheddar Burger

A burger doesn’t get more epic than this. Sugary bacon backed by maple and sharp cheddar will accent any refined yet rich blend.

Chipotle Grilled Filet Mignon in Mango Salsa with 4 Cheese Risotto

A simple medium-rare grilled Filet Mignon with a tinge of salt and pepper will work well with most Bordeaux wines. However, since we’re going Left Bank here, consider adding some spice and sweetness with Chipotle sauce and Mango salsa.

Filet Mignon & Mushrooms Braised in a Whiskey Pan Sauce with Potato-Leek Squares

Again, sticking with the steak theme and bringing in an outside hint of oaky Bourbon, this filet alongside potato leeks is sure to please most carnivores. The mushrooms help accent typical Bordeaux earth tones exceedingly well. Don’t be afraid to break off from this recipe and incorporate your own spices and sauces.

Caramel Chicken

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.

Pulled pork sandwiches on a platter ready to be paired with Bordeaux wines
Pulled pork is arguably our favorite pairing alongside Merlot, which is what right bank Bordeaux wines are primarily comprised of.

Right Bank Red Bordeaux Food Pairings Recipes

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches 

Merlot-dominant wines with black and blue fruit flavors go well with anything barbecue. Pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches are ideal for appetizers and lunches.

Homemade Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe

Right Bank Bordeaux red blends are typically a little bit lighter in body. Therefore, it’s totally acceptable to use chicken as a base. We always prefer sticking with savory and sweet plates for these kinds of blends.  Barbecue chicken pizza with red onions and cilantro will give you the perfect pairing, guaranteed.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Pairing Pizza with All Kinds of Wine

Pizza with chicken and barbeque sauce . Italian pizza on wooden table background
Try pairing Right Bank Bordeaux wines with BBQ chicken pizza.

Asian Style Pork Chops

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.

Grilled Marinated Char-grilled Flank Steak

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.

30-Minute Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Shepherd’s 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.

Not sure which Bordeaux wines to try with these dishes? Try some of our favorites:

Chateau Faizeau Montagne, St. Emilion

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Laroque 2016, St. Emilion

Chateau d’Issan, Margaux

Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere, St. Emilion

If you’re feeling adventurous, try a mix of both young and old vintages from various regions across Bordeaux. When we approach food and wine pairing as an experiment with the basics in mind, it can open many new doors.

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Bordeaux Wine Pairing Guide

Frequently Asked Questions about Bordeaux Wine Pairing

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what to pair with Bordeaux red wines: pizza and wine pairing ideas

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