Left Bank Bordeaux pairs best with meaty steaks, herb-crusted Roasts of Lamb, Beef Pot Roasts, and Grilled Lamb Chops.  Right Bank Bordeaux pairs better with Beef Tenderloin, Roast Goose, Duck Breast, Roast Pork and Flank Steak.

Red Bordeaux is a blend of five different grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot.  Aging better than any other red wine, Bordeaux should be aged for several years before drinking.  The best examples of Bordeaux can be aged for 25 years or longer and fetch thousands of dollars per bottle when they are in their prime.

Fortunately, for those of us who are not millionaires, Bordeaux comes in a wide range of prices ranging from $12-$2,000+.  And this is kinda awesome, as Bordeaux is one of the most food-friendliest wines you can purchase.  After all, it’s a blended red wine from France, and the blend’s goal is to balance out the best flavours of each grape.

The less expensive Bordeaux are often intended to be drunk in their youth. Part of the appeal of Bordeaux is that it has a complexity that you won’t find elsewhere. Your senses will be teased with hints of smoke, violet, vanilla, blackcurrant, plum and spice. It does this without seeming too heavy, giving it more substance than style.

Left Bank vs Right Bank Bordeaux

The main difference between Left Bank and Right Bank Bordeaux is that Left Bank Bordeaux is Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated, and Right Bank Bordeaux is Merlot Dominated.

Bordeaux is also broken down into smaller regions (and sub-regions on top of that), and you’ll find the wine varies by what ratio of grapes they use.  For example, Médoc and Graves lean towards a Cabernet style Bordeaux and are grown on the ‘Left Bank‘.  There are four powerhouse villages of Médoc, two of which are Saint-Estèphe and Pauillac.  These have heftier reds and more tannic reds than the other two villages, which are St Julien and Margaux.  For Graves, a separate appellation called Pessac-Léognan has perhaps the best of what Graves has to offer.

For Merlot-Style Bordeaux, you’ll want to seek out Saint-Émilion. and Pomerol, which are grown on the Bordeaux ‘Right Bank‘. Château Pétrus, perhaps the world’s most expensive wine, comes from Pomerol. Both Pomerol and Saint-Émilion offer both the best and most expensive Bordeaux you can buy.

But again, don’t even worry about all this nonsense, as it’s a lot to take in all at once.  Instead, pick yourself up a bottle in your price range and start pairing it with a food that matches its calibre.  For example, if your bottle of Bordeaux cost you over $40, pair it up with a roast or ribeye steak.  Meanwhile, if your bottle cost you $15, try it out with a Hamburger, a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, or Sausage.

Red Bordeaux Wine Pairings

Grilled Lamb Chops in Bordelaise Sauce and Bordeaux

Grilled Lamb Chops with Bordelaise Sauce and Bordeaux is a holy grail of food and wine pairings among the Bordelaise.  Bordelaise sauce is an earthy French brown sauce made with red wine, bone marrow, butter, and shallots. As Bordeaux is earthy (and bold), it simply loves the flavours of the shallots and none marrow. On top of that, the earthy and smoky nature of a fine Bordeaux loves the carmelized grilled flesh of the lamb chops.

If you aren’t preparing your lamb chops with Bordelaise sauce, no worries.  Bordeaux will go great with any style of Lamb Chops, as this red wine is incredibly meat-friendly.

The tannins present in Bordeaux wines, especially those that are Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated, have an affinity for protein-rich foods like a lamb. When paired with grilled lamb chops, the tannins break down the meat proteins even further, enhancing the flavour of the wine.  Meanwhile, the rich and velvety flavours of cassis, plum, vanilla, chocolate and cherry distract you from the gaminess of the lamb, while notes of smoke, black pepper, truffle, spice and herbs complement the lamb chop flavours.

If you prefer a softer and more approachable wine, consider Bordeaux wines from the right bank, such as those from Saint-Émilion or Pomerol. These wines often have a higher proportion of Merlot, resulting in a more velvety texture and flavours of ripe red fruits, plums, and chocolate. They still offer sufficient tannins to complement the lamb but with a slightly rounder profile.

When serving grilled lamb chops with Bordeaux, it’s essential to consider the doneness of the meat. If the lamb chops are cooked to medium-rare or medium, they will retain a juicy and tender interior, which pairs well with the tannic structure of Bordeaux wines.  Tannin loves fat, and the less you cook your lamb chops, the more fat that remains to help soften the tannin in your wine.

Ribeye Steak and Left Bank Bordeaux Pairing

Out of all the cuts of Steak you can have, I feel a Ribeye cooked medium-rare so it retains lots of fat best for a young Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Bordeaux.

When young, Bordeaux can have punishing tannins that will turn your cheeks inside out. However, the grippy tannin is instantly tamed by the fat and protein content of Ribeye steak, ensuring you taste all the wine’s dark fruit, violet, mineral and chocolate flavours. Meanwhile, the earthy components of Bordeaux (if aged in oak), such as vanilla, cedar, smoke, and coffee love the charred flesh of a well-cooked steak.

Bordeaux is not a fruit bomb like a classic California Zinfandel. However, expect plenty of blackcurrant, plum and cassis from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to keep your senses refreshed. Other grapes, such as Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, inject even more complexity and colour into this beautiful pairing.

Duck Breast and Bordeaux Pairing

Duck breast, with its rich, gamey flavour and succulent texture, is a culinary delight that pairs exceptionally well with Bordeaux wines. The robust and complex characteristics of Bordeaux reds perfectly complement the distinctive taste of duck. The firm tannins and vibrant acidity in these wines cut through the richness of the duck, providing a refreshing contrast with juicy flavours of cherry, plum, currant and blackberries.

Bordeaux reds, particularly those with a higher proportion of Merlot or a blend from the right bank, offer flavours of dark fruits, plums, and subtle herbal notes that beautifully complement the earthy and savoury qualities of the duck breast. Meanwhile, the vanilla, smoke, and chocolate notes are amazing with any crispy duck skin.

Pulled Pork and Right Bank Bordeaux Pairing

With its tender, slow-cooked texture and smoky flavours, pulled pork is a barbecue favourite that pairs exceptionally well with Right Bank Bordeaux wines. The richness and depth of flavour in pulled pork are complemented by the complex characteristics of Bordeaux reds, creating a delightful combination that tantalizes the taste buds.

The wine’s tannins absorb the pork’s fatty richness and enhance the overall flavour experience as tannin denatures Protein molecules making the meat taste even more juicy and savoury. The deep fruit flavours, hints of spice, and earthy undertones in these wines beautifully harmonize with the smoky, savoury notes of the pulled pork. The resulting pairing is a true celebration of flavours that will leave you craving more.

Hamburgers and Bordeaux Pairing

Hamburgers, with their juicy meat, flavorful toppings, and hearty buns, may seem like a casual and straightforward choice, but when paired with Bordeaux wines, they can transform into a gourmet experience. Bordeaux wines, known for their complexity and depth, bring a touch of elegance to the classic hamburger. The robust flavours of Bordeaux reds, with their dark fruits, hints of spice, and subtle earthiness, provide a delightful contrast to the rich and savoury elements of the burger.

A reasonably priced bottle of Bordeaux will go just great with Hamburgers.  However, as the price goes up, so does the quality of the wine, meaning if you love hamburgers, spend a little more on your bottle for a better wine pairing experience.

Bordeaux and Cheese Pairings

Bordeaux packs a lot of flavour, and is a rich and full-bodied wine.  Thus, Bordeaux pairs best with strong cheeses such as Roquefort, Camembert, Comte, Gouda,  Cheddar and Brie.

The reason why Bordeaux pairs well with cheese is that the red wine has harsh tannin.  When you put a fatty and protein packed hunk of cheese into your mouth, the tannin will soften up, smoothing out the wine.  The cheese ends up tasting even better as that chemical reaction between tannin and protein makes everything taste more pronounced and delicious.