Bordeaux wines came from Bordeaux, France. Even though this region produces red and white wines, many people associate Bordeaux with reds. And over 90% of these red wines are made with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Bordeaux red wines have a complex flavor profile bursting with earthy tones and black, blue, and red fruits. Usually, they are produced using two varieties of grapes, although five varieties are approved for making Bordeaux red wine.
Left-Bank & Right-Bank Bordeaux Wines
Before discussing the best food to pair with Bordeaux red wines, first, it’s essential to understand left and right-bank wines.
There are various subregions within Bordeaux. Some bottles have more Merlot, while others are heavier on Cabernet Sauvignon.
Left bank red wines contain more Cabernet Sauvignon, like those produced in Haut-Medoc. On the other hand, right bank wines are Merlot-heavy, like those from Bourg and Blays.
More info on Bordeaux Classifications.
Meat that Pairs Well With Bordeaux
Pairing red Bordeaux wine with beef is an easy choice because they are generally dry. However, different cuts have different properties—which means there’s no single Bordeaux for all.
Cabernet Sauvignon dominant bottles typically contain more tannins, red fruits, and earthy tones. Fattier, spicier, and saltier steak and lamb pair nicely with these types.
Right bank Bordeaux, with its layers of herbal notes, blends well with leaner meats like chicken, duck, or pork.
Cheese That Pairs Well With Bordeaux
The right cheese & wine pairing can elevate the flavors of each to new levels. However, it can also be complicated.
Both wine and cheese have complex essences, textures, and aromas. Cheese can be sweet, salty, rich, and creamy with acidity. It also has a noticeable funk, earthy, nutty, fruity, herbal, or floral. The same goes for wine.
Young red wines from Bordeaux contain a lot of tannins and fruitiness. These lip-smacking drinks particularly complement the French Comte cheese or any strong-flavored hard cheese from cow’s milk, like Gruyère and Stilton.
Full-bodied aged red Bordeaux wines are best served with aged cheese. The richness of these wines gently cuts through the fatty flavors. Remember that the more mature the cheese is, the bolder the wine should be.
Appetizers That Pair Well With Bordeaux
The velvety tannins within left-bank wines enhance the flavors of cured salami, veggies and dip, and other salty appetizers. You can also try pretzels and dark chocolate. Bordeaux is cooler than other regions, so the wines are only mildly acidic, which means you can pair them with mildly spicy foods.
Merlot-dominant wines don’t go well with very spicy foods. Instead, opt for rich and savory appetizers like meatballs, roast beef sliders, and bacon wrapped jalapenos.
Vegetarian Dishes That Pair With Bordeaux
The deep zests of roasted mushrooms are best paired with Cabernet-dominant Bordeaux wines. Generally, go for the bold components of a cab if you have mushrooms, dark beans, bitter greens, and other earthy notes.
Merlot-based wines often excel with red fruits, such as cherry, cranberry, plum, and pomegranate.
Herbs That Pair Well With Bordeaux
Typically, we only consider herbs when sauces like pesto. However, the herbal character of Bordeaux wines might compel you to make some considerations.
Rosemary, thyme, mint, and spices reflect their subtle notes on Bordeaux wines.
Foods That Do Not Pair Well With Bordeaux
We do not recommend pairing Bordeaux wines with pecans, pistachios, and walnuts because they’re high in tannins. Very spicy foods also do not do well with Bordeaux because there is typically not enough acidity in the wine and it will easily get overpowered.
Best Foods to Eat with Bordeaux Wines
Fatty, salty, and earthy foods are best with Bordeaux. Here’s a list of dishes that you can never go wrong with either a cab or Merlot-based bottle:
- Filet Mignon
- French Comte cheese
- Roast beef sliders
- Mushroom and Garlic Sauté