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Food & Wine Pairing with Bordeaux Wines

Dry white Bordeaux is made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.  It typically has medium to medium-high acidity and fresh fruit flavors of green apples and limes with grassy tones.  Dishes that work well with it are …

  • White fish with fresh herbs
  • Lightly sautéed chicken breast – tarragon works nicely
  • Acidity and grassy notes work great with goat cheese

Red Bordeaux is primarily a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  Flavors typically include red and black cherry, plum, cassis, pencil, cedar.  The wines from Bordeaux AOC are typically fruitier and have a high percentage of Merlot – they are simpler wines that do best with a simple dish.

  • Savory, meaty, onion soup with crouton and melted Gruyere cheese
    (ie: French Onion Soup)
  • A big, fat, juicy burger (but no BBQ sauce – too sweet)

Reds from the right bank of Bordeaux from the village of Saint-Emilion and it’s satellites, I find to be more earthy and savory in style.  Try with:

  • Grilled or roasted wild mushrooms – wild mushroom risotto
  • Game birds – squab and quail

Reds from the left bank (from the Medoc or Haut-Medoc) I suggest heartier fare as there is typically more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend.  The fattiness in the meat counteracts with the heavier tannins in the wine.  But be careful that you don’t have anything too spicy or too sweet (ie: no Moroccan lamb or excessively peppered steak) as the spices can be too strong for the wine.

  • Roasted beef
  • Slow-roasted, lamb shank (not too many herbs)
  • Roasted duck (no sweet, fruit sauces)

Sweet white wines of Bordeaux(Sauternes, Barsac) have flavors that typically include: orange, nectarine, honey, toast and almonds.  You can’t do any better than these classic pairs:

  • foie gras – a heavenly combination of rich & decadent with rich & decadent
  • bleu cheese – great contrasting combo of salty & pungent with sweet & honeyed

Remember – the food always has to be sweeter than the wine (even if it is dessert) or the wine will taste bitter.  Be sure to have very little sweetness in the food dish when pairing with the reds and dry whites.  These wines are typically very dry and they taste particularly awful with any sweet preparation (ie: BBQ sauce.)