French Food and Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet


Posted on: 22 May 2017 by John Bell

Take a quick trip around France's most popular wine regions and learn how to match dishes perfectly to selected grapes from each location.

France has long been regarded as the best wine producing country in the world, consistently delivering the highest quality and the best returns on investment. The most widely known wines hail form Bordeaux and Champagne, but there are also phenomenal chateaux producing world-class wines from Burgundy, Chablis, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Languedoc, Provence and Cotes Du Rhone.

But how well can you pair these wines with food? Whether it’s regional delicacies from France or dishes from elsewhere in Europe, playing sommelier can be a tricky business for most people. Luckily, there are a few excellent resources available online to help you when it comes to matching food and complimentary tipples.

One such resource is the superb interactive Food and Wine Guide from Oliver’s Travels, which takes you on a trip through seven of Europe’s most popular countries, helping you match wines with regional specialities from each country. So taking a leaf from their book, we’re going to look at wines from each region of France, and suggest the ideal dishes to pair with each one:

Loire Valley
The Loire Valley produces numerous stunning wines, but I’d suggest a Chenin Blanc. It’s fresh, fruity and crisp and will pair beautifully with moules.

The world’s most famous wine producing region, Bordeaux consistently produces wines that have drinkers and investors clamouring for their top names. You can’t go wrong with a fruity, spicy Merlot from Bordeaux, and it’s the ideal choice for steak.

Cotes Du Rhone
Not as well known as Bordeaux, this region of France produces some beautiful wines, and none more so than a rich, fruity Grenache. Pair it will any lamb dish for a beautiful evening meal.

A region that has grown in popularity among wine investors in recent years, it’s another good option for Merlot. They’re ripe, bold and minerally and will pair wonderfully with Cassoulet.

Another popular region for wine enthusiasts, Provence produces some wonderful fresh Mourvedre, which can reliably be paired with a salade nicoise.

Something of a refined taste, Burgundy wines are often popular for investors and their Pinot Noir wines are superb. Exotic and fruity, they pair excellently with a local speciality – beef bourguignon.

A dream region for white wine lovers, they produce wonderful Chardonnay wines which make an ideal accompaniment to any fish-based dish.

It should be obvious what the ideal choice for this region would be, and we’d pair a crisp glass or bubbly with the regional delicacy of Foie Gras.

Not as well known as Champagne or Bordeaux, but this region of France produces beautiful Riesling wines, which will go well with any spicy food. 

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John Bell


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