Winter pairing ideas: perfect wine matches for fondue, raclette, and tartiflette!

Someone scrapping raclette cheese out of a small pan over boiled potatoes with the perfect raclette pairing

It’s safe to say that winter has truly settled in and looks like it’s here to stay for a little longer. When temperatures dip below freezing, fondue, raclette, or tartiflette – all manners of oozy cheesy goodness – are always a safe bet! Nothing beats a nice bottle of wine to complement these mountain specialities for a cosy evening at home, and iDealwine has got just the tipples for you to relish the experience!

What wine to drink with raclette?

Yum… The sheer indulgence of a cheese raclette arguably embodies the pinnacle of winter’s culinary delights. Whether with friends or family sitting in front of the fireplace, raclette (courtesy of small electric tabletop appliances with small pans, known as coupelles, in which slices of raclette cheese are melted) is a super-simple dish and the ultimate symbol of a holiday in the mountains. What’s more, you can bring the snowy mountains to you and prepare this from the comfort of your own home! Originally from Switzerland, this dish consists of melted cheese (raclette cheese from the Swiss canton of Valais or raclette cheese from the Savoie region) which is served with boiled potatoes and a selection of charcuterie. You can also serve it with salad, gherkins, sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, or peppers, etc. White wine is the ideal partner for this winter dish, although it can also be served with red.

Raclette and white wine pairings

White wines from the Savoie region complement raclette perfectly. This match has already proven itself 100 times over! All grape varieties from Savoie (Mondeuse BlancheAltesseRoussanneJacquèreChasselasChardonnay) work perfectly with raclette. This is because they are mostly ‘simple’ wines, easy to drink, and, for the most part, not exceptionally complex or lengthy on the palate, which would tend to ‘overwhelm’ the dish. This is also why you should favour young and fruity wines. These wines, with their light, flowing body, are also interesting because they generally contain a lot of  freshness and are only slightly rich, which counteracts the fat in the cheese and charcuterie. Sticking with pairings from the region, you can also go with the Fendant grape variety (the name given to Chasselas grapes in the Valais in southern Switzerland).

Raclette and red wine pairings

Don’t fret, if you’re a red wine aficionado, raclette also pairs well with your favourite colour… And, once again, reds from Savoie such as Mondeuse with Trousseau and Gamay work particularly well too. Of course, you can also consider wines from other regions. Beaujolais with its light and fruity wines is a great option or you could stay closer to Savoie and choose wines from Arbois (Jura) such as Poulsard or Trousseau. These are perfect reds to pair with raclette, owing to their fluidity, few tannins and intense fruitiness. They complement both the charcuterie and moderately strong cheeses, such as the one used for raclette, to perfection. The more adventurous might even try to pair raclette with a Burgundy Pinot Noir, preferably from the Côte de Beaune (with the exception of Pommard, which is more tannic) or from the Côte Chalonnaise.

What wine to drink with a fondue savoyarde (cheese fondue from Savoie)?

Here’s another indulgent cheesy winter dish that originated in Savoie! This one is a concoction of three cheeses (Comté, Beaufort and Emmental from Savoie) melted in a fondue pot – with wine for good measure ! Fondue is eaten by spearing a piece of bread on a ‘fork’, swirling it in the pot, and then delighting the taste buds.

cheese fondue and wine pairing

Fondue savoyarde and white wine pairings

Just like with raclette, fondue beckons for white wines from Savoie. Their freshness serves as a welcome contrast to the richness of this utterly decadent dish. They offer just the right touch of richness to complement the creaminess and smoothness of the dish, while mellowing out the saltiness of the cheese. Their structure and intense aromas, combined with a fine body, ensure they aren’t overshadowed by the flavour of the cheese. It’s worth mentioning that a slight amount of residual sugar is not a problem for a successful match. Outside Savoie, the Côtes du Jura and Arbois (Chardonnay-dominated) wines also work very well, just like wines from the Mâconnais region, or Rieslings as well as the Rhône’s Marsanne and Roussanne. As for the more adventurous, you might consider a daring match with a Vin Jaune!

Fondue savoyarde and red wine pairings

We advise against red wine with fondue savoyarde since the cheese is the sole ingredient, and the absence of charcuterie suggests steering clear from these wines. But if you’re really determined, you can give it a try with the same pairings as raclette (SavoieBeaujolais and Jura).

What wine to drink with tartiflette?

Last but not least, tartiflette! This winter staple is a dish from Savoie made with sliced potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions. A splash of white wine can be added to the list of ingredients too. As is often the case with cheese, white wines are recommended, but a number of reds (from Savoie in particular) are also suitable.

French tartiflette and wine pairing

Tartiflette and white wine pairings

Again, as we love regional pairings at iDealwine, we believe that Savoie whites are the best match, particularly Chignin-Bergeron, which has more body than other AOCs. Their freshness is a welcome contrast to the heartiness of this rather filling dish…  That being said, wines from ‘sunnier’ regions work well too, such as whites from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Crozes-Hermitage, among others, as their alcoholic character and aromatic exuberance create a richness that rivals that of tartiflette.

Tartiflette and red wine pairings 

Since this is not a 100% cheese dish and it contains lardons and onions, a red wine pairing is also possible. However, tannins generally don’t go hand in hand with fat… So here, it’s best to select wines that aren’t oily or rich, such as Gamay from BeaujolaisPoulsard and Trousseau from Jura, Pinot Noir from the Côte de Beaune or some Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, vinified very gently (by infusion), particularly in the Bourgueil AOC.

You’re all set to embrace winter! Now it’s time to simply savour the wine and food.