Thanksgiving 2023 Special: Red Zinfandel and Fondue

This Thanksgiving 2023 Special is about pairing wine with cheese fondue. As we have discussed in our previous post, white wine like Grüner Veltliner or Laroux, are generally the gourmet choice for Fondue.  But sometimes I just want red wine. 

So which to choose?

Zinfandel is my pitch here.  There are obviously many wines that would like the title of Best Red to do Fondue, but try this one first.  

Zinfandel is a red wine that can surprisingly make an excellent pairing with cheese fondue. Zinfandel’s unique characteristics, particularly its spicy berry notes, can create a delightful and complementary flavor experience.

Tasting Notes:

1. Berry Explosion:

Zinfandel is known for its rich, ripe berry flavors. You’ll encounter notes of blackberries, raspberries, and sometimes even dark cherries. These fruity undertones provide a sweet contrast to the savory richness of the cheese fondue, creating a harmonious blend.

2. Spice and Pepper:

Zinfandel often carries a subtle spiciness with hints of black pepper and baking spices. This spiciness adds complexity to the pairing, helping to balance the creamy nature of the fondue and keep your palate engaged.

3. Vanilla and Oak:

Many Zinfandels are often aged in oak barrels, which imparts flavors of vanilla, caramel, and sometimes even a touch of smokiness. These oak-derived characteristics can complement the nutty and toasted flavors in cheese fondue, enhancing the overall dining experience.

4. Moderate to High Alcohol Content:

Zinfandel tends to have a moderate to high alcohol content, which can cut through the richness of the cheese, similar to Grüner Veltliner’s acidity. This helps cleanse your palate, preparing it for the next delightful bite of fondue.

5. Full-Bodied:

Zinfandel is a full-bodied wine with a robust presence. Its weight and structure can stand up to the hearty nature of cheese fondue, ensuring that the wine doesn’t get overwhelmed by the dish.

Some zinfandels can go further singing a tune of coffee or chocolate.

Originally from Croatia, Zinfandel as now mostly associated with California.  It was initially appreciated as a white wine, which may be the link to why it pairs so well with swiss cheese.  Now however, it can make seriously complex but accessible red wines, complete in the glass.

You don’t need to drink it with fondue, but it can help!

Join us Saturday November 18th bring your cheese and fondue kit and let’s do fondue! YouTube.com/@charlie_cheese

More to explorer


Introduction to Valençay Cheese Valençay cheese, a distinctive French goat cheese, hails from the province of Berry, now part of the Centre-Val

Soft Young Pecorino

History of Soft Young Pecorino Origins and Development Pecorino is a term used to describe Italian cheeses made from sheep’s milk (the

Loire Menetou Salon Sauvignon Blanc

History of Menetou-Salon Sauvignon Blanc Wine Menetou-Salon is a lesser-known but highly respected appellation located in the Centre-Val de Loire region of