The Best Type Of Wine To Use For Bordelaise Sauce, According To A Chef

bordelaise sauce poured into pot
bordelaise sauce poured into pot - Michel Cellier/Shutterstock

Ready to make a world-class Bordelaise sauce from scratch? After all, Bordelaise sauce is the perfect sauce for grilled steak, and we certainly should cook with wine more. Before you begin, note that Tasting Table consulted a chef to help you choose the best type of wine for the job. The chef we spoke to was Kieron Hales, the co-owner of Zingerman's Cornman Farms.

Regarding which is the best type of wine to use for Bordelaise sauce, Hales' answer was definitive. "One hundred percent a great Bordeaux. The Merlot and Cabernet mix is by far the best," he stated confidently. This makes sense as Bordelaise sauce originated centuries ago in the Bordeaux region of France, and the direct translation of Bordelaise is "from Bordeaux." Additionally, merlot and cabernet are drier wines with lower sugar content, making them perfect to use and reduce in a Bordelaise sauce, which often calls for dry red wine. After all, reduction is the key to effortlessly elevating wine sauce.

However, when the wine is too sweet or not dry enough, your Bordelaise sauce may end up being a tad too sweet for your taste buds. If the differences between merlot and cabernet stump you, we've explained every major type of red wine you would ever need to know. It's good to refresh your red wine knowledge before tackling your next homemade Bordelaise sauce.

Read more: Your Guide To The Different Cuts Of Steak

A Dry And Aged Bordeaux Is Ideal For Making Bordelaise Sauce At Home

beef bordelaise with asparagus
beef bordelaise with asparagus - Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

We now know a great Bordeaux is the best red wine for cooking Bordelaise sauce, but are there other factors about the wine that we should consider? Kieron Hales thinks so and wants us also to consider the age of the Bordeaux bottle we choose to make our Bordelaise sauce. He explained, "You want to make sure your wine has a bit of age to it." This means choosing an older merlot or cabernet.

But why should the age of the red wine matter? Hales elaborated, "If it is too young, you will have a higher level of tannins than ideal." The more tannins a wine has, the more bitter or astringent it tastes. The tannins also lead to a drier mouthfeel when you drink or eat the wine in a sauce. With time, tannins become sediment that's filtered out, so the longer a wine ages, the less tannins it'll have in its body. So, be sure to use an aged bottle of cabernet or merlot. However, if you're working with mushrooms, Hales recommends pinot noir as the best type of red wine to use for mushroom sauce.

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