Left Bank and Lentils – French #Winophiles

French #Winophiles Visit Storied Left Bank Bordeaux
Our French #Winophiles group will be hanging out in Bordeaux for the next few months (if it could only be real!).  This month, we are focusing our efforts on the Medoc and Haut-Medoc AOC communities. You can link to all our posts farther down the page.

Medoc and Haut-Medoc take up the top left corner of the map. Courtesy of www.bordeaux.com

Bordeaux will be our virtual home for the next few month (a nice dream!) Medoc and Haut-Medoc take up the top left corner of the map. Courtesy of http://www.bordeaux.com

The AOC regions of Medoc and Haut-Medoc include the most famous and expensive wines in Bordeaux, and some of the most famous and expensive wines in the world. You can still enjoy drinking wines from this region, even if you’re not willing to spend upwards of $500/bottle, then waiting 15+ years for it to mature.

Beautiful color in a Medoc red

Beautiful color in a Medoc red

Fast Facts on Left Bank Bordeaux Wines

  • Bordeaux red wine grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere, Malbec
  • Left Bank: Stand on the bank of a river, face downstream. The bank on your left is the “Left Bank” (works in Paris, too).
  • Cool maritime climate due to rivers and ocean.
  • Gravel soils make the Left Bank slightly warmer than the Right Bank (come back in August for our Right Bank edition).
  • The Left Bank climate is just barely warm enough to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon, most years. Merlot and Cabernet Franc will fully ripen in cooler temperatures, guaranteeing the winegrower an ability to make at least some wine every year.
  • Blends are the name of the game. Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant on the left bank.
  • If you’re lucky enough to inherit land in Pauillac, Margaux, St. Julien, or St. Estephe, congratulations, you are rich!
Chateau Carmenere Medoc Bordeaux wine

Château Carmenère Medoc

Château Carmenère Medoc 2011 ($30 at Brightwines)
Château Carmenère is a small chateau who used to sell their grapes to larger Bordeaux estates.  In 2006, the son decided to start making their own wine. The Family Richard-Barraud is dedicated to bringing back the use of the Carmenère grape in Bordeaux wines. This wine is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Carmenère, 2% Petit Verdot. Lesson: if you stay out of the well known villages, you can buy a very pretty red Bordeaux wine from a family winery for $30.

Eye: Clear, medium ruby with a purple edge.
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity. Very gentle herbal nose with red fruit behind. A bit of soft richness brings a sense of some oak aging in the wine but very subtle.
Mouth: Medium body, medium acidity and medium+ tannins, but nice and refined. Flavors of red fruits. Very subtle, elegant and restrained.

Bordeaux in the summer? Absolutely! Just serve on the cool side of room temperature.

Bordeaux in the summer? Absolutely! Just serve on the cool side of room temperature.

Steak and Lentils for a Summer Dinner
Grilled, braised or roasted red meat is always a good choice with red Bordeaux.  In the summer, I think first about the grill.  Easy enough, but how about a French twist on the meal? In looking for a side dish in a French summer theme, I found a nice lentil salad recipe in David Lebovitz’ “My Paris Kitchen“. Perfect! Here in the US, we hardly ever give a thought to lentils.  They’re delicious and I like their texture, but they are just a homely brownish green color. They need help. David Lebovitz to the rescue!

David Lebovitz "My Paris Kitchen"

David Lebovitz’ shares favorites from his kitchen

This salad is definitely a keeper.  Julie, who is not wild about lentils, raved about it. Plus, it was a nice way to give steak a nice French summer twist. Just make sure the wine is just a bit cooler than room temperature. Not cold, just a touch cool. We enjoyed a beautiful evening out on the deck, with a Medoc red wine being a perfect partner to dinner.

Chateau Carmenere, steak and lentil salad

Steak and bright lentil salad

French #Winophiles Dream of Bordeaux
Take a look at what our #Winophiles found in our first of several Bordeaux outings below:


Interested in joining in? Put Saturday, July 16 at 10 am CDT on your calendar and pop into twitter. Hunt down the hashtag #Winophiles. Share, ask, enjoy.

Chateau Carmenere Medoc with steak and lentil salad

14 Responses to “Left Bank and Lentils – French #Winophiles”
  1. Great pairing Jeff! I never think of lentils in the summer, they always seem so heavy to me. You’ve given me reason to reconsider and add this them to a summer menu.

    The wine sounds very interesting – I wish there was more time to try all of them! Would you recommend it for an above average every day wine?

    • Hi Christy, the lentil salad was excellent and highly recommended for a summer side. I’d serve the wine anytime I wanted an elegant, feminine red Bordeaux. For a wine like that, $30 seemed a bargain.

  2. Love the idea of a lentil salad with steak. I may copy this idea (citing you for inspiration of course) for another post. The wine looks lovely as well. Cheers Jeff!

  3. Like Christy, I never thought of using lentils in the summer. It is usually a soup we make in the winter time. We’ll need to try this! Thanks!

  4. I LOVE lentils. But am always looking for a new recipe. Thanks for sharing. And I will definitely be tracking down that fine. What a great price point.

  5. Wendy Klik says:

    That looks like the perfect dinner in the perfect setting. Wishing I were there more than I wish I were in the Medoc region of France.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff from Food Wine Click offers us Left Bank and Lentils […]

  2. […] with Goat Cheese and Walnuts, inspired by Jeff Burrow of Food Wine Click’s latest article “Left Bank and Lentils: French #Winophiles.” Jeff has great wine and food pairings, simple and elegant. I was inspired by this lentil recipe […]

  3. […] Bordeaux (links to all the other posts are further down this page). Last month, we started on the Left Bank. This month, we jump over to the Right Bank, to explore similarities and differences. The Right […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: