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Sometimes all you need with a beautifully braaied piece of meat is a good glass of wine – a classic Cabernet Sauvignon with lamb, a juicy Shiraz with beef and an elegant Chardonnay with chicken. Sometimes, however, we like to serve the meat with a sauce and then the fun begins! Suddenly the traditional wine matches are challenged!

Beautiful Béarnaise

Béarnaise is considered to be deduced from Hollandaise, one of the five classic French sauces. It is a light yellow, creamy sauce made from clarified butter, egg yolk, shallot, tarragon and white wine vinegar. Although it sounds simple, it takes a lot of practice to perfect.

Béarnaise is named after the Béarn region in South West France. It was likely first created by Chef Collinet (the inventor of puffed potatoes!) to serve at the opening of the restaurant Le Pavillon Henri IV, named after Henry IV of France who was born in the province of Béarn.

Traditionally Béarnaise is served as an accompaniment to steak – especially beef fillet. Braai your fillets to your liking (we recommend medium-rare) and serve them with a classic Béarnaise sauce, some grilled green asparagus and the 2012 Culinaria Collection Pinot Noir Chardonnay.

While red wine is traditionally served with steak, the delicate flavours of the Béarnaise sauce will allow you to also enjoy a lighter wine such as our Culinaria Pinot Noir Chardonnay. With 60% Pinot Noir in the blend and an accompanying spiciness, this wine is a versatile food partner, especially for dishes with rich texture (butter, cream, melted cheese), grilled or lightly charred foods and vegetables such as cooked greens. But do also try the same sauce and the same wine with some grilled salmon or trout!


Béarnaise Recipe


10g tarragon, dried of fresh

¼ cup shallot or red onion, finely chopped

10ml white wine vinegar

6 egg yolks

250g clarified butter, melted

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice



In a saucepan combine the tarragon, shallots, and vinegar over medium-high heat.

Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce by half.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a food processor blend the egg yolks and vinegar reduction together.

With the blender running, gradually add the butter in a slow steady stream until emulsified.

Season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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