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Fondue Pairings: Great Wines to "Dip" Into

  04/10/2021 at 13:59 pm

Fondue is the perfect way to kick back and kick off those last winter doldrums. As warm and cozy as a blanket, melty fondue is the perfect way to relish chilly spring evenings and small, intimate gatherings with friends. All you need is the right wine, and that's where we come in. 

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A dish whose main component is melty cheese may not seem wine friendly. But the first rule of wine pairing is “yes, there is a wine for that.” As a basic rule of thumb, bright, aromatic, and mineral-driven white wines are ideal for fondue, as they compliment the texture and earthy, savory elements found in fondue cheeses like raclette. Riesling, known for its high acid, aromatic notes of lime, ginger, and white flowers, is a great option. 

Bubbles can go toe-to-toe with the flavor and texture of fondue. Acidity and minerality add lift, bubbles help cut through the fatty cheese, and the blend of fruit and florals accentuate flavor.

Don’t worry, red wine fans don’t have to worry about being left behind. Plush, juicy and light-bodied reds like Beaujolais and Pinot Noir add gorgeous accents of red berries and sweet herbs to fondue. Watch out for wines with bold tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which will clash with the silky cheese mixture. Ready to dip? Here are some sippers to try!

White Wines

Pierre Sparr Grande Reserve Riesling 2018

In 1680, Jean Sparr founded the Sparr family winery in the Alsace village of Sigolsheim. Over the next three centuries, nine successive generations of the Sparr family worked the land, maintaining and expanding their estate. The Sparr winery has a philosophy; "the quality of a fine wine already exists in the grape." This lovely Riesling opens with fresh and alluring aromas of citrus and peach, then expands to include notes of cherry blossom, with impressions of freshness, elegance, balance, and intriguing minerality.

Van Volxem Saar Riesling 2018

Since starting the winery in 2000, Roman Niewodniczanski, owner of Van Volxem, has been working to restore the reputation of the Saar as the most prestigious dry white wine region in the world. His wines are stunning, demonstrating both the true passion of the winemaker and the esteem of the vineyards. This entry-level wine has a lovely mouthfeel, with a buoyant, silky texture shot through with an arrow of acidity. Subtle peach and citrus notes hover just under the surface of fresh minerals and slate.

Klaus Lentsch "Amperg" Weissburgunder 2018

With 12.5 hectares under vine and a small production of 72,000 bottles per year, Klaus Lentsch is committed to low yields and high quality. the vineyards are situated at 400-600 m above sea level on sunny steep terraces, and planted in clay and gravelly soils. these conditions along with Lentsch's commitment to sustainable farming and production methods make for enjoyable, high quality wines. This Weissburgunder (aka Pinot Bianco or Pinot Blanc) possesses a delicious freshness and fruitness. The colour is luminous pale yellow with a greenish glow. The aroma is fresh and racy, reminiscent of green apples and meadow blossoms. On the palate it is full, fresh and lively with an impressive body. Pair with fresh fish or serve alone as an aperitif.

Cyrille Sevin "Une Lente Melopee" Cheverny 2017

A former math teacher, Cyrille Sevin always dreamed of having his own vineyard. When he retired, he bought 8 hectares in the Cheverny area and started making purely natural wines, like this stunning, food friendly sipper. Today he has 11h. under vine and makes natural wine, specializing in elegance and power, showing that natural wine doesn't have to be funky to be delicious.

Red Wines

Jean-Claude Chanudet "La Cuvee du Chat" Gamay 2019

Jean-Claude Chanudet is one of the movers and shakers in the natural wine world at large, and Beaujolais in particular. He follows a similar philosophy to the greats of Beaujolais: with very little interference in the vineyard and the cellar, not using any chemicals and additives, and minimal sulphur. Only indigenous yeasts are used in the cellar, and a long, slow carbonic maceration gives the suppleness and softness for which Chanudet’s cuvées have become known. Classified as Beaujolais-Villages, “La Cuvee du Chat” drinks more like a Brouilly, featuring ripe, snappy red berries and stemmy sweet and savory herbs and crisp, balanced acidity. It’s a gorgeous partner for everything from salads to burgers.

Folk Machine Valdiguie 2019

The Hobo Company, producer of Folk Machine, is “the brainchild, side job, menace to the wine industry, hedged bet, cash strain, mental anguish, late night musing, bruised hands, dirty t-shirts, and constant companion of Kenny Likitprakong.” Committed to a value system that extends beyond financial progress, Kenny focuses on creating stunning reds with style, using grapes grown organically or biodynamically. This Valdiguie is a great example, dark red in the glass, but bursting with bright red and black fruit, mouthwatering freshness, supple structure, and a fun finish that lingers sip after sip. It’s perfect with a slight chill, alongside soft cheeses, pan-seared salmon, and pasta with light cream sauce.

Sparkling Wines

Richard Cremant du Jura NV

This stunning sparkler from the Jura is an excellent value alternative to pricier blanc des blancs from Champagne.  With enticing, slightly oxidative aromas of pear, citrus & toasted hazelnut and focused flavors of honeyed quince, golden apples & chalky minerality, this wine makes an excellent summer aperitif, or pairs nicely with oysters & shellfish.

Lambrusco di Sorbara “Omaggio a Gino Friedmann” NV

Founded in 1923, Cantina di Sorbara is a pioneering cooperative representing Lambrusco DOC. Member growers, which hail from Modena, Reggio Emilia, Mantova and the area surrounding Bologna, are dedicated to producing pure, beautiful expressions of Lambrusco, such as this brut rosé lambrusco. Dedicated to the memory of Gino Friedmann, an Italian Jew who helped rescue dozens of children during WWII before turning his attention to growing and making Lambrusco, the wine opens with stunning notes of white pear, pink and purple flowers, that blossom into ripe raspberry and cherry. Crisp and subtle on the palate, this bubbly is pure satisfaction.

By The Greene Grape
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