Wine and Food Pairing: Boeuf Bourguignon
by James Flewellen
Here’s our recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon
The classic wine for this hearty dish is a relatively youthful Burgundian Pinot Noir – ideally the same wine you’ve used in the cooking. The bright fruit flavours in the wine complement the savoury spice in the dish and the tannins – fine as they typically are in red Burgundy – interact with the proteins in the meat to bring overall harmony to the meal. An older Pinot Noir will have developed more subtle, complex savoury notes, which may be overwhelmed by the bold array of flavours in the stew, thus I’d stick to a more youthful example and save the mature wine until when you can enjoy it in all its glory.
Other Pinot Noirs from around the world will also work – particularly the rich, clean fruit profile of a New Zealand Pinot. You could also try a ‘serious’ Beaujolais Cru – made from the Gamay grape. These Cru wines are slightly more expensive than the infamous Beaujolais Nouveau, yet they provide a more complex flavour profile and robust, yet integrated tannins. The best, from for instance Moulin à Vent, Morgon and Fleurie, start to resemble their cousins from Burgundy to the north and as such, offer excellent value for money.
To the west of Burgundy, the Loire valley produces a number of wines that would go very well with the dish. Sancerre Rouge is the Loire’s expression of Pinot Noir and, I feel, too light in body to stand up to a stew. A Chinon or Bourgueil, however, made from Cabernet Franc, is well up to the task. The thicker skins of Cabernet Franc make for more robust tannin, which go perfectly with beef. Meanwhile, these wines typically have a rich fruity core in their flavour profile not dissimilar to young Burgundy, although more towards blackcurrant rather than raspberry on the fruit spectrum. Cabernet Franc can also introduce leafy, minerally and peppery notes, which can serve as a lovely foil to the sweetness in the vegetables in the stew.
Jonell Galloway and James Flewellen will be giving a food and wine tasting Masterclass in Chartres from September 19 to 22. Here is a thorough description: Celebrate the Chartres Festival of Lights & Autumnal Equinox with a Food & Wine Tasting Masterclass. Click here to reserve your place!
About James Flewellen
Dr James Flewellen is a biophysicist at the University of Oxford. James learned his trade in taste through the Oxford Blind Wine Tasting Society, of which he was the President from 2010-2012. During his term, he represented Oxford at many international blind tasting competitions – twice winning the prestigious ‘Top Taster’ Award in the annual Varsity blind tasting match against Cambridge University and captaining winning teams in competitions throughout Europe.
One of James’s goals is to clarify the complex and hard-to-navigate world of wine for both novice and experienced tasters. He applies his scientific training to wine education, illuminating concepts of taste, tannin and terroir in an approachable, entertaining manner. James runs wine education courses in Oxford through the Oxford Wine Academy and is completing the WSET Professional Diploma in Wine and Spirits. He is the regular wine writer for The Rambling Epicure and is the founder of The Oxford Wine Blog. He is also currently co-authoring The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting – a book surveying the wine regions of the world and how to blind taste.