Traditionally a Burgundy wine is used for Beef Bourguignon. What are alternative replacements for this dish?

10 Answers 10


Red Burgundy wine is made from Pinot noir grapes, so a Pinor noir from another region probably will work well. Wikipedia describes Pinot noir as “light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry or currant”, so any wine with those characteristics, such as a light Zinfandel or Shiraz/Syrah will be similarly substitutable.

  • +1 for Pinot Noir. I guess any red wine will do. – BaffledCook Sep 12 '10 at 8:07

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child says it should be made with a full-bodied young red wine. She lists the following options: Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux Saint-Émilion, Burgundy, or a Chianti.

I've made it with a Bordeaux and can attest to it being delicious.

  • I'm making this tonight with a Bordeaux (2006 Chateau Bonnet, nothing special). – hobodave Sep 12 '10 at 1:31
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    Operation beef bourguignon was a success. – hobodave Sep 13 '10 at 2:51

It would change the flavor profile enormously, but making the equivalent of Boeuf Bourguignon with beer would probably be quite tasty.

  • I think this sounds awesome. – justkt Aug 26 '10 at 18:30
  • Or it could be overwhelmingly bitter. – hobodave Sep 12 '10 at 1:32
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    It's not bitter but takes a really long time to cook and makes a 'carbonnade' or beef in ale etc. These don't really taste anything like Beef Bourguignon. – vwiggins Sep 13 '10 at 9:20
  • Yes, this is not boeuf bourguignon but carbonade, which is an excellent dish from Belgium. – mouviciel Sep 18 '10 at 19:07

I've had great success in the past using a chianti.


I'd had success with Cabernet Sauvignon before (South Australia). I tend to associate "full-bodied" (and hence better for cooking since delicacy isn't relevant) with Cab Sav and Shiraz varieties far more than, say, Pinot Noir. Could be the characteristics of the local wines, though.

I'd be surprised if the choice of wine made a huge difference to the dish, however, as long as you didn't stray too far from the criterion of "ordinary red wine".

  • Agreed, Pinot Noir is typically considered to have a medium body. – hobodave Sep 21 '10 at 17:36

Try a Fuzion Malbec. It's a cheap Argentinian that stands up really well. In Ontario, it's about 8 bucks a bottle, and anything comparable is at least 12-15. For god's sake, don't be cooking with a 30-50 pinot. That's for drinking!

  • As an aside, I've one book (Elizabeth David's French Provincal Cooking, I think) that refers to "Coq au Chambertin" with the practice of using "one bottle in the dish, two on the table". An expensive proposition these days (don't see many sub-$50 Chambertins in the UK). Doubt many (or possibly anyone?) could taste the benefit. – Ian G Sep 21 '10 at 9:49
  • In "Heat" Buford talks about Mario Batali's "Brasato i Barolo" which was done in a wine that came from the same liquor supplier as the Barolo. – Chris Cudmore Sep 21 '10 at 13:17
  • Ian G: I seem to remember Raymond Blanc describing using fine burgundy in dishes as crazy. – Tim Almond Sep 23 '10 at 20:30

Try a Ribera del Duero; you may be surprised.


I certainly had a very delicious Boeuf Bourguignon in Calais one cold and wintry evening. I complained that it was clearly not made with red wine and was rather pale and anaemic. The chef came out smiling all over his face. "Mais oui, monsieur, it ees my mother's own recipe. White burgundy from my home town." He showed me the bottle. It said Grand Cru on the label. So I proceeded to try to hide in my seat. It was followed up by an excellent Roquefort from his cousin's place down in the Auvergne and he insisted I must have a good red wine (Burgundy) with this, on the house. So we drank the whole bottle between the two of us! Memorable evening!


You need some liquid that is as tasty as wine. Perhaps some beef consommé (Can o' Campbells!) would do the job. I would add a bit of red wine vinegar, or balsamic, to make it a little bit acidic.


I've not tried it but my uncle was telling me he's started using cider for this, googling turns up a few beef in cider recipes so he may not be losing his marbles just yet!

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    I suspect if you go to the parts of France where wine is grown less and apples more, like Normandy, you'd find the traditional local recipes used cider, just like the use of beer in Belgium mentioned in other comments. – Ian G Sep 20 '10 at 16:00

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