As the holidays are approaching, I am starting a new Christmas Eve tradition by serving fondue/raclette. To make the most out of the occasion, I have been testing out the best wines to pair with Fondue or Raclette in advance. To research to find the best wines to pair with the gooey, delicious melted cheese is a sacrifice. But it’s the only sacrifice I am willing to make.
Recently, I discovered Fondue and Raclette. Am I late to the party now? Yes. Can I make up for lost time? Also, yes. Strangely, I didn’t enjoy dipping my bread and potatoes in cheese from an early age. It could be that fondue, Raclette, and other cold-weather dishes are not something I would have gravitated toward early on. Who knows? Winter is coming, so I want all the carbs and cheese.
The Best Wines to Enjoy with Fondue & Raclette
Dry, high-acid white wines are the best with Fondue or Raclette. Both fondue and Raclette are Swiss. Is it a mere coincidence that the best white wines from Switzerland and other wine regions around the Alps tend to be dry with a zippy acidity level? I don’t think so. German, Swiss, and Austrian wines go well with Fondue or Raclette. French white wines, especially those from Alsace, will pair well with fondue.
Here are the top 15 wines to pair with Fondue or Raclette. Continue reading for more detailed wine pairing tips.
List of the Best White Wines to use with Fondue or Raclette
I think white wines are best for fondue. They have high acidity, which will help cut through the cheese’s fat and balance the saltiness.
The Best Red Wines to Enjoy with Fondue or Raclette
I still remember you, red wine lovers—the best red wine to pair with Fondue or Raclette. Here, you want to look for dry wines with high acidity. You will find the most readily available wines at your local store. However, Zweigelt and Blaufrankisch are two wines worth checking out. Zweigelt, an Austrian grape, is fruity, bright, and tart. Blaufrankisch or Kekfrankos, as it is known in Hungarian and Austrian, is a wine with many flavors from red berries.
Pinot Noir (Blauburgunder).
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What Wines to Pair with Fondue or Raclette?
The word fondue is derived from the French fondre or melt. Raclette is derived from the French word race, which means to scrape. This can be seen in scraping bits of cheese off the grill as it melts. You can choose the right wine if you know what type of cheese is used and how fondue or Raclette is served.
This post separates the wine pairings for Fondue and Raclette, but these wines are great with either.
Fondue Wine Pairing
The fondue is melted cheesy cheese served in a communal pot, where guests can dip their favorite accompaniments. Gruyere cheese, Gouda, and fontina are the traditional cheeses used in fondue. These are hard cheeses that melt quickly. Use the best quality cheeses possible since the cheese is the meal’s star. For fondue, hard cheeses can be used because they are more shelf-stable. This is important during the winter months when no fresh cheeses are available. Fondue can be served with crackers, potatoes, or (stale) bread.
We need to drink wines that will cut through the salt and fat. High-acid wines are perfect for this. I think white wines are the best with fondue—especially alpine wines like Chasselas and Riesling with high acidity.
It’s a great way to pair fondue and Champagne, especially around the holidays. The acidity and bubbles will help to cleanse your palate.
Red Wine for Fondue
It is customary to serve meat cubes with fondue during the holidays. Red wine is the best choice for Fondue Chinoise or Chinese Fondue. For fondue, we still need a wine with acidity that can cut through the cheese grease. Pinot Noir or Grenache are the best choices. Try something new. I recommend Swiss or Austrian wines like Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt. Barbera and Fontina are a natural match.
Raclette Wine Pairing
Raclette is different than fondue, but the concept remains the same. Raclette is not made in a big pot of cheese. Instead, it’s done on a raclette grill. Raclette is the name of the type of cheese that’s used to make the dish. When Raclette is written in lowercase, the food is referred to, and when it appears in uppercase, the cheese. Raclette is salted, slightly sweet, and a little nutty. The best white wines to pair with Raclette are Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.
Raclette is traditionally served with pickles, potatoes, cured meats, grilled vegetables, and bread. This blogger gave me many tips about making and doing Raclette. Adding cured meats and the grill factor can make Raclette handle a more intense wine like Chardonnay. When Raclette is served more with cured meats and fewer veggies, I like a young Tempranillo.
The Best Wines to Pair with Fondue & Raclette
Select wines with high acids.
Select wines with nutty notes or that are a little older.
You can choose wines from Switzerland, Germany, Alsace (France), Piemonte, Italy, and Austria.
While white wine is preferred, red wines with high acidity also work well.
Sparkling wines are always a good choice.