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Wines of France and What Food to Pair

Avoid a Faux Pas when Pairing French Wine and Cuisine

November 24, 2023

French cuisine and wine are two of the main motivations of travelers vacationing in France. Whether you’re tucking into a freshly baked croissant alongside your morning café au lait or sitting down to a gourmet supper, every bite will leave its impact.

There are 11 exquisite wine regions in France with Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhône and Loire valleys being the most well-known. Gastronomy varies from region to region although cooking is associated with rich meat dishes accompanied by seasonal vegetables and one of the French Mother sauces. Naturally, seafood and shellfish play a pivotal role in coastal kitchens. Let’s take a look at what food pairs best with the classic wines of France.

Pinot Noir

Commonly known as “Burgundy Red” the Pinot Noir crafted in east-central France is considered the finest of its kind. These complex, medium-bodied wines carry earthy notes and undertones of cherries and raspberries plus a hint of mushroom. It’s the wine of choice for chefs preparing Burgundy’s classic boeuf bourguignon and thus pairs to perfection with a glass.

Cabernet Sauvignon

France remains the world’s leading producer of Cabernet Sauvignon with Bordeaux claiming the lion’s share of varieties. This full-bodied wine has dark fruit accents mixed with warm spices, black pepper, and oak. The varieties that lean on the fruitier flavors pair beautifully with a cheese and charcuterie board whereas the smokier wines are worthy of steak au poivre. This typical French dish sees a high-quality cut of tenderloin coated with crushed black peppercorns and a cognac-based sauce.


Chardonnay sits beside Pinot Noir as the signature white wine of Burgundy. “White Burgundy” is medium-bodied with medium acidity and a distinctly oaky taste. Seafood dishes are a natural contender for what to pair with French Chardonnay. Chardonnay is also the wine of choice when diving into garlicky escargot. For all other tastes, there is chicken fricassée – a stew cooked in a creamy sauce prepared using white wine and mushrooms.


Lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon but weightier than Pinot Noir, French Merlot is a versatile wine that pairs with a wide variety of national dishes. Order Merlot with duck confit or roasted turkey served with lashings of seasonal vegetables. Merlot also pairs finely with vegetarian and vegan dishes in France.

Côtes de Provence

Amid the lavender fields and hilltop medieval villages, the region of Provence is awash with rosé vineyards. Côtes de Provence refers to these light-bodied, fruity wines that pair with just about any type of seafood, poultry, or vegetarian dish. Pair a glass of Provençal rose with Nice’s Niçoise salad or bouillabaisse, the Mediterranean fish soup that hailed from Marseille.


Unlike other sparkling wines, Champagne from the namesake region in northern France has a high level of acid and only a pinch of sugar. Sip a glass of Brut Champagne with a mushroom-based dish laced with white truffles or with oysters or mussels fresh from the boat and save Demi-Sec for a crème brûlée.

While we do typically associate red wines with meat and white wines with fish and poultry, this isn’t necessarily the case. Your sommelier will be able to match you with a flawless food and wine pairing in France. Contact me today and we will devise a gastronomic getaway to the land of wine and haute cuisine.

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?