Ever since I can remember my family has celebrated Bastille Day on July 14th, the most important French holiday, because it also happens to be my father’s birthday. No one loves French food or a party more than Dad, so in 1995 after my year abroad in the Rhone my parents and brother met me in Paris for the greatest fête of our lives. We had no idea the epic 24-hour celebration that awaited us! It was insane. Party goers choked the streets drinking, smoking, eating, singing, dancing, kissing, stripping, and crying (hopefully for joy). James Brown performed live. When we were able to enter a restaurant (it was hard to find anything through the crowds), with a flash of Dad’s passport we were showered with free food and drinks. Apparently there is no greater honor than being born on Bastille Day. My brother and I were not yet legal in the States. Seriously, it was the BEST.DAY.EVER.
The carefree food and wine pairings thrown on our tables that day guide the simple and succulent suggestions below. Use them as inspiration, as it’s your palate that dictates. Vive la France!
Any Bordeaux White (Blanc); look for one from Entre-deux-Mers or Graves.
These bright, light, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc based wines need dishes with a tart component such as:
– Frisée, poached egg and lardon salad with shallot-white wine vinaigrette
– Raw scallop carpaccio with a lemon vinaigrette
– Crusty baguette and selection of fresh goat cheeses like: Boucheron, Chabis, or Crottin de Chavignol
Any Bordeaux AOC Rosé
They’re fruit-forward yet bone dry and go great with salty fare like:
– Sausages, grilled and sliced, served with whole grain mustard and apple slices
– Foie gras, rabbit terrine or country paté with crusty bread, butter and cornichons
– Ratatouille served with poached white fish topped with black olive tapenade
Any Bordeaux AOC Red under $20
These velvety Merlot-dominant, juicy yet tart reds have little oak and pair well with:
– Hamburger with sautéed onions, gruyère and mustard (Yes, you do find this in France now, but no ketchup folks!)
– Potatoes or fennel au gratin
– Steak Tartare (don’t be intimidated, this is easy to do at home!)
Simply ask your local retailer or search online with a site like Snooth for Bordeaux White, Bordeaux Rosé and Bordeaux Red. As for the foods, Many of these are easy to buy pre-made at your gourmet grocer. Your Bastille Day party is as easy as picking a few of the above suggestions for wine and food, throwing it on your table and letting guests enjoy their own way! Cheers Dad – these Bastille Day Bordeaux are for you!
Editor’s note: Megan Wiig is a wine expert for the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) which creates programs like Today’s Bordeaux, selections up to $35.