How to Pair Wine with Classic French Cuisine
There’s no denying it—classic French cuisine has been making a huge resurgence in restaurants around the world over the last few years. In New York City alone, Francophiles can get their fix at Daniel Rose’s shining one-Michelin-starred Le Coucou in SoHo, nosh on pommes aligot at Harold Moore’s Bistro Pierre Lapin in the West Village or head to Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson’s plush Frenchette brasserie in TriBeCa. And that’s just the tip of l’iceberg.
The minimalistic, no-muss, no-fuss approach to French cuisine evokes a comforting spirit and restaurant dining experiences can easily be replicated at home. Another bonus, classical French dishes can stand up to many fine wines.
Vichyssoise, a velvety blend of leeks, onions, potatoes, stock and cream, can be served either hot or cold. “With a rich, savory soup, I'd reach for a contrasting wine style,” says The Wine Advocate managing editor, Joe Czerwinski. “Try a crisp, off-dry white, like a New Zealand Riesling. Zephyr's 2017 Riesling from Marlborough has just about the right sugar-acid balance to work here.” Other New Zealand Riesling options include the 2016 Neudorf Moutere Dry Riesling and the 2017 Waimea Estate Classic Riesling.
Hailing from Burgundy, boeuf Bourguignon is a much beloved stew of beef that’s been simmering in red wine of the region and aromatics before being served with pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon lardons. William Kelley, Burgundy reviewer for The Wine Advocate, opts for the 2016 Domaine Berthaut-Gerbet Fixin Les Crais. “Fixin is an appellation frequently associated with rather firm, compact wines, but Amelie Berthaut produces beautifully supple, elegant wines with plenty of character,” he says. “The Les Crais lieu-dit is generally my favorite communal bottling of Fixin, and it always seems to posses a generous, fleshy core of fruit. While it's hard to resist, the wine ages well.” (Kelley still has some of the 1988—Amelie’s vintage—in his personal cellar.)
Julia Child once said that the best way to execute French cooking is “to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken.” (Child’s recipe for her roast chicken has become a cult favorite.) “Burgundy and birds are lovers,” says Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate reviewer for South Africa and Washington State. Specifically, white Burgundy. “Any of the Meursault bottlings from Domaine Antoine Jobard always does the trick for me—hot juicy chicken with crunchy skin with a chilled, oaky white Burgundy? Game, set, match.” A wide range of red Burgundies can also be paired here; Mueller suggests Jean Foillard’s Morgon Côte du Py.
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