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

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 & recipes for various styles of Red Bordeaux Wine.

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.

Bordeaux Wine Region Map Left & Right Bank | Winetraveler.com
Map detailing many of the Left Bank Bordeaux sub-regions.

The Best Food Pairing for Bordeaux Red Wines – Left & Right Bank Red Blends

Also worth noting is that there are several sub-regions within the Bordeaux winemaking region of France (38 in fact). 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 Gironde River (or estuary) 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 Emilion 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, 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 Gironde River your Bordeaux is from — no worries. We’ll break down food pairings by the style of food as well.


Concept

Think meat. Yes, you can pair Bordeaux 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 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 | Winetraveler.com

Left Bank Red Bordeaux Food Pairing Recipes

Super Sirlion Steak & Onion Bites

  • Ideal for an Appetizer, try utilizing 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 Red Wine Hamburger Food Pairing | Winetraveler.com

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 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.

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

  • 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.

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.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich Bordeaux Red Wine Pairing | Winetraveler.com


Right Bank Red Bordeaux Food Pairings Recipes

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches 

  • Black & Blue fruit Merlot heavy Bordeaux red blends go wonderfully 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 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.
    Homemade Barbecue Chicken Pizza Bordeaux Pairing | Winetraveler.com

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 Shepards Pie Recipe

  • 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.

Learn More About Bordeaux Wine

Discover The Wines & Wine Regions of Southern Bordeaux


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greig Santos-Buch is a Co-Founder at Winetraveler, WSET II Merit wine thought-provoker and off-the-beaten-path outdoorsman. He first became involved with wine traveling after a month-long solo trip to Spain about 10 years ago, planning the trip almost exclusively around the gastronomic scene of the country. Ever since that particular trip abroad, he developed a passion for traveling and making wine tourism the core driver behind where he ends up. This has since led him to exciting destinations including the Czech Republic, to Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, California, Washington State, Canada and beyond. His primary aim through Winetraveler is to expose this style of travel to the world and make it accessible to everyone.

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