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August 22, 2010

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Choose a fruity, acid wine

Communal fun eating is what Swiss fondue is all about. The dish originated in Switzerland, specifically in the Canton of Neuchatel several centuries ago. Traditional Swiss fondue is a peasant dish made of two or more cheeses melted in white wine with a touch of kirsch, a popular local cherry liquor. Because white wine is used to make the dish, the same wine is the most logical wine to accompany the dish. In Switzerland, this would be a Fendant white wine made from the chasselas variety. Good luck finding this is in Shanghai! Therefore, when enjoying a Swiss fondue in Shanghai I suggest you pick a wine with similar attributes to the Fendant, specifically generous fruitiness and good acidity. An excellent choice would be a young sauvignon blanc wine.

The Loire Valley in central France has several wines that will make even the best fondue taste better. The Domaine Laporte Le Bouquet Sancerre and Henri Bougeois Pouilly-Fume are two white wines that will add elegance to a Swiss fondue as the fresh, slightly tart fruit flavors add synergistic taste elements to the cheese flavor and the acidity of the wines cuts through the richness of the cheese sauce. Bordeaux whites made mostly of sauvignon blanc but with some semillon in the blend are also lovely with cheese fondues. The Chateau Loudenne and Clarence Dillon Chantelle Blanc are balanced whites with the right amount of fruitiness and acidity to embellish your Swiss fondue experience.

However, if you want to live on the wild side, I suggest trying a New Zealand sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region. The exuberant citrus and exotic fruit flavors along with floral notes of these wines literally jump out of the glass. These flavors blend beautifully with the cheese while the clean finish of the wine accentuates the smooth creamy texture of the cheese.

My picks with the fondue would be the Forrest Estates Heart of Stone Sauvignon Blanc, Overstone Sauvignon Blanc or Tuhuna Sauvignon Blanc. All three pair beautifully with the fondue while adding an element of excitement to the dish.


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