Best French wines to pair with food


Best French wines to pair with cheeses

As per French tradition, a dinner with family and friends always starts with an “aperitif” or a starter. Often, it can consist of small “amuse-bouche” or finger food that might include cheese, some pate, crackers, or even curated meat.  Each taste is unique, and the combination of a good wine with the correct cheese, can enhance the flavor and ensure a pleasant experience.  

Continuing with our series on foods to pair with French wine, on today’s article we are going to help you answer the question What wine should I pair with my cheese? We will provide you with some tips of the types of French wine you can use to pair with different types of cheeses.

Types of cheeses

Fresh or salty cheeses

When pairing French wine with cheeses like Feta or Paneer, you'll want to consider wines that have the right balance of acidity, fruitiness, and body to complement the flavors and textures of these cheeses.

  • Types of cheese: Feta, Cotija, Paneer, Goat and Brillat Savarin
  • Best pairings: Sparkling, dry white, aromatic white or a light red wine.

An example of a French wine could be Sancerre, a well-known French white wine that comes from the Loire Valley and is primarily made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. It often exhibits crisp acidity, citrus notes, and a touch of minerality. This acidity can help cut through the saltiness or the mildness of the cheese, while the citrus and herbal undertones can provide a refreshing contrast.

Delicate and nutty cheeses

  • Types of cheese: Brie, Comte, Gruyere, Havarti, Mascarpone, Mozzarella, Ricotta and Emmental or Swiss cheese.
  • Best pairings: Sparkling, dry white, aromatic white, oaked white wine, rosé, fruity red wine, natural sweet wine.

An example can be a French Chardonnay, from the regions of Burgundy or Chablis. Chardonnays from these regions often have a balance of fruitiness and acidity, with notes of apple, pear, and sometimes a touch of minerality. The wine's texture and subtle oak influence can complement the creamy texture of Brie, while the fruit flavors provide a harmonious pairing.

Strong and firm cheeses

  • Types of cheese: Cantal, Cheddar, Gouda, Tomme de Savoie, Manchego, Parmesan, and Pecorino Toscano
  • Best pairings: Sparkling, Oaked white wine, Rose, Fruity red wine, Strong red wine.

An example is the Côtes du Rhône red wine. These wines are often a blend of several grape varieties, including Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. They tend to have a balance of fruitiness, spice, and earthiness. The red fruit notes and subtle peppery and herbal undertones of a Côtes du Rhône wine can harmonize with the nutty and sweet characteristics of these cheeses.

Seasoned cheese

  • Types of cheese: Bleu d ’Auvergne, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton, Époisses
  • Best pairings:  Sparkling wine, aromatic white wine, rose, strong red wine, fruity red wine, sweet natural wine.

An example of a French wine can be a Sauternes, a famous sweet wine from the Bordeaux region of France, made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes affected by noble rot. This wine is known for its luscious sweetness, honeyed notes, and complex flavors of dried fruits, apricots, and honeycomb.

Pairing cheeses like Roquefort or Gorgonzola with Sauternes creates a classic and delightful contrast between the richness and saltiness of the cheese and the wine's sweetness and complexity.

If you want to know more about each type of wine, read our article on foods to pair with French wine.

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