Melt some cheese!
Fondue & Raclette
At Alpine Wines we are dedicated melted cheese people (Ben excepted!) and enthusiastically embrace Fondue and Raclette all year round, as well as other Alpine cheesy delights like Tartiflette, Aelpermagronen, Fonduta and baked Vacherin.
If you're wanting some help to choose wines for Raclette or Fondue, this is your page. We have the widest selection of wines to drink with melted cheese - so you can either drink the typical local choices, or experiment.
Our fondue making tips just grew too big for this page so if you want help to make Fondue head to our Fondue Recipe page.
Drink with Fondue:
crisp and clear white wine
In Switzerland we traditionally drink crisp white Chasselas, black tea (no milk), and kirsch with cheese fondue. It needs to be dry and very clean to cut through the cheese.
For variety, we might go for Doral, Heida, or petite Arvine, but much complexity can be lost with all the cheese. I still feel Chasselas is the best as much of its complexity is in the mouthfeel not the nose.
In Savoie they drink Jacquere for the same reason, as well as Altesse.
For people accustomed to more acidity in their white wine, Chasselas can feel "not enough" with Fondue. The Savoie wines will work better for you.
And if you need the wine today (why did you wait this long?) and need to find something from the local shop, you can drink another dry unoaked white, such as a cold climate Chardonnay, an italian Pinot Grigio or Verdiccio, or a Spanish Albariño.
PS: The idea that you cannot drink water with Fondue, or cannot eat ice cream after it thus risking indigestion, is an urban myth.
Producer: Cave de La Côte
Simple, fresh, creamy, easy drinking
Producer: Domaine des Muses
As if you were on the terrace on the ski slopes
Producer: Denis & Didier Berthollier
Producer: Cave de La Côte
Drink with Raclette:
more complexity works
Raclette is usually served with potatoes and mixed pickles and in many families it is topped with slices of onion, garlic or tomato. Bread might be served with cold cuts and dried meat and of course salads to make the meal more complete.
If you don't have a raclette oven or if your raclette maker suddenly dies, raclette can be made under a typical grill using small oven proof dishes.
We usually drink the same wines with raclette as we do with cheese fondue but raclette is milder and more balanced therefore more complex wines can be used like a Petite Arvine, Savoie Altesse or dry Roussanne or, in red, a Gamay or Dole.
Dole Maitre de Chais
A rather grown up Dole
Producer: Domaine De Montmollin
Producer: Heidi Schröck
A far more ambitious and complex white, for Raclette rather than Fondue
My fondue making tips had grown too big and now have their own Fondue Making page - I left a cheat sheet here as a refresher course :)
In Switzerland, fondue is 200g of cheese per person, served just with bread and pickles, sometimes a small salad is served before. It is unashamedly the main and only course. In Savoie, fondue is usually smaller, accompanied by a large platter of cold cuts and a large salad. It is often runnier, which is a surprise to the Swiss on holiday in France.
At its most simple, Swiss fondue is 200g of cheese and 1 dl (100g) of wine per person.
- Blend your cheeses.
- Use a dry, crisp white wine.
- As much garlic as you dare.
- Use a binding agent.
- Use crusty bread.
- Keep everyone stirring.
More details can be found on our Fondue Making page
Step by Step:
0. Rub the pot with garlic (we don't do this).
1. Put the cheese in, add the wine and the (optional) garlic slivers.
2. Heat slowly, stirring often. Smooth steady motion in a figure of 8 works quite well.
3. Once the cheese has started to melt add a diluted teaspoon of corn starch - if you are making a fondue for two - in a little bit of kirsch and add it to the mix. Heat to a low "boil".
4. Keep stirring regularly as the cheese melts. The cheese should bind. If it doesn't bind stir some more.
5. Add a dash nutmeg and generous amounts of pepper to taste finish the fondue (or other spices/herbs should you feel adventurous).
If you are going to make several fondues in parallel, make them together in one pan and then split the liquid fondue across all the fondue pots at the end.
More details, variants and urban legends on our Fondue Recipe page