Best Wine with Fondue

Go Swiss!

Fondue is a Swiss specialty, so think about doing it the Swiss way. Use strong Alpine-style cheeses such as Swiss, Emmental, and Gruyere. There are a lot of types of cheeses you can use in a fondue, but the best fondue cheese is a Swiss-style cheese like Emmental or Gruyere.  A good authentic recipe will get you started.

As far as wine goes, cheese fondue is something that you would imagine eating on a cold evening halfway up the mountain, and the first thing that comes to mind is an Alpine white. You want a nice tartness to keep you fresh, very little oak, and a light, breezy flavor.

What works with Fondue?

These are my recommendations, in order of preference.

Dry whites such as Muscadet, Chablis, a dry Alsace, Austrian Riesling, or a young Gruner Veltliner are top of the list. Why? Fondue is a very rich dish and needs something to cut through the fat. Dry whites are light enough that they can do this without being overpowered by the cheese. When serving a white wine Fondue, the cheeses need to be melted and immediately dunkable.

I accompany my cheese fondue with Alpine White wine, which is classic as Fondue is derived from the western Alps. For example, Kerner, a German grape variety that’s grown in the Alsatian region of France. It has a fruity acidity to bring out the sweetness of the cheese but also finishes with an earthy quality that will complement some of the more complex flavors found in fondue.

A really rustic wine will work wonders when paired with an aromatic cheese, while a sweet, fruity wine will beg for some cheese. Another good example is Chasselas, a Swiss grape that’s often used in fondue wines. It has a bright acidity that will work well with the cheese and bring out its fruity notes.

These wines are great for fondues made from cheeses. The richness of the fondue also needs to be balanced with great freshness in the wines accompanying the fondue. The fondue is intense, so the white wine that is going to accompany it has to be powerful in order to coexist in the mouth with the intense flavors of the cheese.

Muscadet Must-have!

If you are looking for a dry wine to drink with cheese fondue, look no further than Muscadet. Whether you are drinking dry white wine and enjoying chunks of bread with the fondue or using it to cut cheese into pieces when you cook, this is a match made in heaven.

The crispness of white wine will slice through the fatty, creamy texture of the cheeses, but a dry profile will not overwhelm it. The wine should complement a melting cheese combination, rather than overwhelm it. The wine has the right level of nuts to pair with melted cheese, flattering to the palate, and a great pairing with Fondue. The wine’s richness, strength, and smoothness are a perfect foil to a fondue made of cheese. 

Best red wines with Fondue?

Red wines with a bit of residual sugar, such as Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, or Sangiovese will also work well. The sweetness in these wines will balance the cheese’s saltiness and bring out its fruity notes. Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais pair well with mildly aromatic, washed-rind cheeses and nutsy, medium-firm cheeses.

If red is your style, opt for low-tannin wines such as Gamay or Pinot Noir. The fruitiness will work well with the cheese. Like a cherry compote on a cheese board. Wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel pair nicely with strong cheeses. Goat cheeses are great companions for Vermentino, Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Syrah

Chocolate Fondue

If red wine is your go-to, maybe a chocolate fondue is the one to go with. Red wine is a classic pairing with chocolate, but you don’t want to overwhelm the delicate flavors of the fondue. Try Pinot Noir. It’s medium-bodied and has an earthy quality that will complement the dark cocoa powder in your chocolate fondue. Its acidity will cut through any cloying sweetness. If you prefer something bolder, look for a Cabernet Sauvignon that has ripe fruit and black pepper notes.

Sparkling Wine with Fondue

What are the best sparkling wines for fondue?

When it comes to sparkling wines for fondue, you have a lot of options. The best sparkling wines for fondue are dry and crisp, so they’ll work well with the other ingredients in the dish. They should also have enough acidity that they won’t be overpowered by cheese or chocolate.

White sparkling wines are the best choice for fondue, as they have a more neutral flavor than reds. If you want to use a red sparkling wine, choose one that has a lot of acidity and is light in body so it won’t overpower the other ingredients. Some of the best sparkling wines for fondue are:

  • Cremant de Bourgogne (France): This dry sparkling wine has a lot of acidity, which makes it perfect for cheese fondue. It’s also low in alcohol (about 8%) so it won’t overpower other ingredients.
  • Franciacorta Brut (Italy): This Italian sparkling wine is light and crisp, with a nice balance between acidity and sweetness. It has about 12% alcohol by volume (ABV).
  • Prosecco (Italy): This is a very popular sparkling wine that’s light and effervescent. It has about 11% ABV.
  • Champagne (France): Of course, Champagne is the classic choice for cheese fondue. It’s high in acidity and low in alcohol, so it won’t overpower your fondue.

AVOID these pairings

What doesn’t work with Fondue? White wines such as Chardonnay are too dry and will leave your guests with a dry mouth after eating fondue. It is important to pick wines that have good acidity, and not just any white. Chardonnay is a little too rich and will compete with the flavors in your food. While the herbaceous qualities of Sauvignon blanc also will not go together very well.

Conclusion

For a successful (and authentic) Fondue, you need to go Swiss with your cheese and find a good wine pairing that works with that. For me, that means dry whites such as Muscadet, Chablis, or Gruner Veltliner. These wines will easily cut through the rich fatty nature of the cheese fondue. If you prefer red wines then opt for lighter options like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir to balance out the saltiness of the cheese. Pinot Noir is also a great choice if you want to have chocolate fondue.

Finally, sparkling wines are a great choice for fondue and help make it even more of an occasion. Prosecco, Cremant, or Champagne will provide enough acidity without overpowering your fondue ingredients.

If you liked this, take a look at my other posts on the Best Wine with Raclette.