Bordelaise Sauce: The Perfect Final Touch

If you’ve ever been to a formal steakhouse, you have likely been offered to add Bordelaise sauce to your high-priced steak. Maybe you said yes, but more than likely, you turned it down because you didn’t know what bordelaise sauce was exactly. 

Have no fear, we are here to teach you everything you need to know about bordelaise sauce—so read on to discover all about this perfect finishing sauce. 

What is Bordelaise Sauce?

Bordelaise Sauce is a popular steak sauce that is made from a combination of red wine, bone marrow, and butter. The sauce also contains shallots instead of onions, setting it apart from other steak sauces. 

The original bordelaise sauce was invented in the 1700s in France and given the name ‘bordelaise’ after the famous Bordeaux region, which produced the white wine originally used to make the sauce. Somewhere along its path to fame, the white wine in the sauce was swapped for a red wine, mostly because of the deeper color the red wine added, while also giving it a deeper taste.

While there is, in modern times, a New Orleans version of bordelaise sauce, it is much different from the French original and there are several different varieties available depending on the type of dish being served. 

What Does Bordelaise Sauce Taste Like?

Most recipes for bordelaise sauce require an entire bottle of red wine, so it has a strong red wine flavor. The wine is reduced, of course, so there is little to no alcohol in it, but it still retains the deep flavors you would typically enjoy in a glass of red wine—which is one of the reasons it pairs so well with beef. 

Bordelaise also has a unique sweet aftertaste thanks to the shallots, something you wouldn’t get when making the sauce with onions. While the exact composition of the sauce varies by the broth it is made with (veal, beef, or venison), there is a deep, underlying meaty flavor that makes this sauce delicious to use as a gravy alternative. 

What is in Bordelaise Sauce?

The exact recipe for bordelaise sauce varies from chef to chef and can even vary from dish to dish. Below are the basic ingredients, though many famous chefs at their own tweaks!

  • Bordeaux Red Wine
  • Beef Stock
  • Shallots
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter
  • Beef Bone Marrow
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves

The most common ingredient to change is the meat stock. While the original recipe calls for veal, many chefs use beef or venison stock, depending on what dish they plan to pair it with. 

Additionally, some chefs skip the bone marrow bits, as they can be unavailable or tough to come by at times. But if you want to try the original recipe, you’ll need all the above ingredients, and the meat stock needs to be veal stock. 

Does Bordelaise Sauce Contain Alcohol?

Bordelaise sauce is made using red wine, so it does initially contain alcohol. While most of the alcohol is boiled off during the cooking process, if you cannot consume alcohol it may be best to avoid adding bordelaise sauce to your steak since cooking methods can vary. 

Are There Sauces That Are Similar to Bordelaise?

Although we find that bordelaise sauce is one of the best, it isn’t the only red wine sauce on the market that pairs well with steaks. Some similar sauces include bourguignon, au jus, and Marchand de vin. We will dive into the details of these sauces below. 


Bourguignon is the sauce most similar to bordelaise, as it is also made with a red wine reduction. But while bordelaise sauces require a bottle of Bordeaux wine, bourguignon uses a bottle from the Burgundy region. 

Additionally, bourguignon sauce uses onions instead of shallots, making it less sweet than its bordelaise counterpart. 

Au Jus

‘Au jus’ means ‘with juice’ in French, and it is a sauce made with meat juice and wine. Although it has the two same main ingredients as bordelaise, the meat juice is prioritized in this sauce, giving it a much meatier taste than bordelaise. 

Marchand de Vin

Marchand de vin is the least popular of the bordelaise alternatives, and it uses more wine than broth in comparison. Marchand de vin is a more classic wine reduction sauce, which can be made with any bottle of wine, typically making it cheaper to produce than bordelaise. 

Can You Replace Bordelaise With Another Sauce?

Although you can see that we have mentioned some sauces like bordelaise that some may want to try, bordelaise is truly one of a kind. There is no other sauce made from such decadent ingredients, and you will only be disappointed if you try to replace it with something else at your next event! 

Bordelaise Sauce Recipes

Bordelaise sauce is a delicious and rich sauce. Thanks to the added broth, it goes perfectly with most beef dishes, especially high-end steaks like Filet Mignon and Prime Ribeye

There are several other recipes, however, that can benefit from this delicious sauce, and we have listed them below:

Where Can You Buy Bordelaise Sauce?

Bordelaise sauce can take hours to make, and therefore it is typically recommended that you buy it instead of making your own. Plus, it can be a challenge to find an affordable bottle of Authentic Bordeaux Wine to boil down into just a few portions of sauce. 

Bordelaise sauce is best ordered from a specialty store like Kolikof Caviar and Gourmet, where you can reap the benefits of bordelaise being produced by a professional. 

Kolikof sells our signature Bordelaise Sauce in mass quantities, making it easy to stock up for all your steak needs! One order contains over 2 lbs. of the delicious sauce, ensuring you have enough for several dinners (or one large event). Now that’s the Kolikof difference!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.