The French are world famous for their food and wine, and rightly so. French haut cuisine can be found on restaurant menus wherever you go, and no serious wine list is complete without a selection of French wines from regions like Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône Valley. When it comes to food and wine pairing, however, there is one region that really beats them all: Bordeaux.
Located in the south west of France, Bordeaux is one of the world’s biggest wine producing regions. There are thousands of wine estates in the area producing all sorts of wines. You will get fresh white wines labelled “Entre Deux Mers” or simply “Bordeaux“ and delectable sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac. There is even Champagne-style sparkling wine known as “Crémant de Bordeaux”. When most people talk about Bordeaux wine, though, they are really talking about red wine. Red Bordeaux wines are available at many different price and quality levels, but at the high end of the market the fine wines of Bordeaux are some of the best wines in the entire world.
Understanding the classification systems of Bordeaux can be tricky, so let’s not worry about that just yet. At the very high end, this stuff runs into hundreds and thousands of euros per bottle. This is wine that you can lay down in a cellar for many years. It’s investment grade wine. Just trust us: Though the price tags may make your eyes water, high end Bordeaux is seriously good stuff. Names such as Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Cheval Blanc are so well known for a reason. You don’t always need to spend a fortune to enjoy a good Bordeaux, though.
Bordeaux food pairing
Whether you splash out on a Bordeaux first growth, a cheap supermarket Bordeaux or anything in between, consider that your wine experience will be made even better by pairing the wine with local French-style cuisine. Here are some ideas for delicious food and wine pairings:
Sliced Pork Belly with Macau Artichokes
Artichokes are a regional specialty of Macau, a small village close to Margaux. Here, they grow very large heads and fleshy petals. When sauteed with pork belly and served on a dressed salad, they make a perfect complement to a local wine such as Château d’Issan 2007.
Slow-roasted Pauillac Lamb
Lamb from the Pauillac region produces a delicate meat that is almost white. Slow-roasted, it can literally melt in your mouth. This is a simple and excellent dish that calls for a quality local wine. If your budget allows it, consider one of the famous first growths from Pauillac. If not, look for good value such as Château Cos Labory 2007 from the neighbouring St Éstephe region.
Pot-Roasted Veal Loin
Veal from the south west of France is fed largely on milk and is highly flavourful. Prepare a pot roast combining veal, duck fat, spring onions, garlic and seasoning, and enjoy a world of flavour. Savour the complexity and depth of the dish with a truly spectacular wine, such as Château Haut-Brion 2005.
As is always the case, remember that the most important rule when pairing wine and food is that you and your guests enjoy the combination. These pairings tend to follow the notion that “what grows together, goes together”, but there are always exceptions – don’t be afraid to experiment!The best French cuisine to pair with fine Bordeaux wines
For some more French food recipe ideas, take a look here.