At its most basic level, fondue is a pot of warm, bubbly cheese in which pieces of bread, meat, or vegetables on skewers are dunked. This national dish of Switzerland consists of Emmental, also known as Swiss cheese outside of Switzerland, and Gruyère, white wine, garlic, and spices. Its mild flavor lends itself to a wide variety of foods that can be dunked, making it an easy crowd-pleaser for gatherings and events.
While the traditional Swiss version is the most popular (and many would argue the best), fondue can be made with a variety of cheeses, including Gouda, Cheddar, Fontina, and Comte. To take the guesswork out of wine pairings, we have some recommendations that are sure to be a hit regardless of the cheese you choose.
Wine Characteristics to Pair with Fondue
|Acidity||Medium – High||Medium – High|
|Body||Light – Medium||Light – Medium|
|Tasting Notes||Citrus, stone fruit, apple||Berry, red fruit|
Choosing wines that are high in acidity should be your priority. Fondue is rich and fatty, and the acidity in the wine will cut through all of that and leave you refreshed. For this reason, white wines make for natural pairings. However, you are not out of luck if you prefer red wine. Light-bodied reds with good acidity can also pair well with fondue.
Best Red Wine To Drink With Fondue
Although white wines are your best choice, you can still enjoy a glass of red with your fondue. The key is to consider the cheese used in the fondue and select a wine that is light with decent acidity.
Pinot Noir is an all-around great food wine. This is a great option if you are having fondue made with Cheddar, Gruyère, Comte, or Gouda, especially a smoked Gouda.
Similar to Pinot Noir, this light red will make a great food pairing with almost anything. When it comes to fondue, pair Beaujolais with Swiss, Comte, Gouda, or Gruyère.
Grenache is a medium-bodied red that is bursting with red fruit flavor. Choose a Grenache if your fondue is traditional Swiss, Gouda, or Fontina.
Best White Wine To Drink With Fondue
Because most fondue recipes include white wine, it stands to reason that white wine is your best option when it comes to wine pairings. The recommendations below will elevate your fondue experience, regardless of the cheese used.
Riesling, with its notes of nectarine and apple, is a highly aromatic wine and can range from dry to sweet. Choose a dry variety to balance the richness of the cheese.
Grüner Veltliner is bursting with acidity and bright citrus flavor, making it a can’t-miss pairing with fondue.
Notes of apple, pineapple, and pear, along with hints of spice, make Chenin Blanc a lovely match with fondue, particularly the Gruyère variety.
Since fondue tends to be served at gatherings, why not bring Champagne into the mix? The peach notes are a natural pairing with cheese, and the bubbles cleanse the palate.
Fondue & Wine Pairing Tips
It should go without saying that bread is by far the most popular dipper for soaking up all the cheesy goodness of fondue. Whether you’re using baguettes, pretzels, bagels, or sourdough, just be sure to toast it a bit so it doesn’t fall apart. Vegetables like broccoli, potatoes, and bell peppers are also popular options and add a satisfying crunch.
On the flip side, if you like a little sweet with your savory, try fruit slices such as apples or pears. Both will complement your wine and cheese. If you are looking to add some protein, steak, chicken, shrimp, or sausage, cut into bite-size pieces are perfect for dipping in cheese. If you are looking to make one of these options the feature of your fondue experience, choose your wine accordingly. A red for heavier meats like steak or sausage, white for chicken or shrimp.
Best Wine To Drink With Fondue
White wines are always a safe choice regardless of the cheese type. The acidity of white will cut through the rich, fatty cheese and cleanse the palate so you can go back for more.
- Grüner Veltliner
- Pinot Noir