Bordeaux is revered in the wine industry, and rightfully so. For centuries, the Bordelaise have blessed the world with the fruits of their exceptional palates and passion for flavor. Food and wine are synonymous in this region. Lunches and dinners are long and drawn out bonding experiences where conversation undoubtedly ebbs from the obligatory politics into food, the considerations made in making it, the wine and the pains taken in pairing. What bliss.
Tradition and the observance of age-old techniques, be it in wine making or creating lovely masterpieces for the dinner table. More often than not, most dishes, though simple in their making, are well thought out and incorporate fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The Bordelaise ensure that flavors are natural and ring clear on the palate. Such can only be achieved by sourcing the very best and fresh ingredients.
The bordelaise are also remarkably carnivorous. Choice meats form veal, rabbit, duck, flavorful lamb, and the ever-present king of meats-Beef.
Entrecôte de Bordeaux is a premium cut of beef served topped with a reduced wine sauce at times accompanied with a choice of vegetables.
Entrecôte is a French denotation for premium cut beef usually from the Rib-eye area. On the other hand Contre-filet is a cut from the sirloin. The Bordelaise sauce is made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and sauce demi-glace. The demi-glace is a rich brown veal sauce.
Legend has it this dish was the brainchild of a hungry cellar worker who grilled the steak over used wine barrel staves. Such luxuries are rare nowadays, what with the expense of wine barrels used or new. Chateaux would sooner sell them to Whiskey makers or other interested parties and turn a profit, than raise a spit to grill steak.
All is not lost. Vine shoots, got by pruning or old vine stocks from re-planting provide adequate tannin source as would the barrels and can be used for cooking fuel.
Ahh, Bordeaux wine. You might not know this, but the Bordelaise know a thing or two about wine. They are certainly very humble about it.
Local wines have a way of transforming dishes and Bordeaux is not short of wine offerings. It is important to note that one should use typically the same wine intended for serving into any dish that calls for wine. Therefore, this dish is no exception.
Merlot tends to dominate the Right-bank appellations like Saint-Émilion and Pomerol. Cabernet Sauvignon produces beautiful elegance on the Left-bank all the way from Medoc to Pessac-Leognan.
Personally, this dish tends to be better with a Cabernet Franc primary based wine for the intense aromatic nose, rich flavor, balanced tannin and spicy finish. This grape is bound to infuse its beautiful flavors into the steak. With that in mind, a good Pomerol with the heavier Merlot structure combined with the Cabernet Franc should hit the spot. Enjoy your next casual Bordeaux lunch!