How to Pair French Wines: Main Course

Culture & Lifestyle | France | By Olivier Maillard

Matching wine with food is a science and an art in France. Here we provide some guidelines to get you started, pairing common French dishes with wines from across the country. Of course, meals in France can last hours and consist of many courses; be sure to check out pairings for the first, dessert and cheese courses.

The Main Course


Roast: Any fine Red wine—Bordeaux, Burgundy, Hermitages
Casseroles: Robust Reds—Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape or St-Émilion
Boeuf Bourguignon cooked with Red Burgundy: Beaune Red or any other
medium-priced Burgundy

Cassoulet (rich peasant stew from southwest France)

Cahors or Fitou


With cream sauces: White Burgundy or intense, sweetish Loire White such as

Turkey with Chestnuts


Choucroute (milder form of sauerkraut, usually served with sausages)

Alsace Pinot Gris


Pécharmant, Canon-Fronsac or a substantial White Burgundy

Game Birds

A Pauillac for terrines, roast game and such dishes as wood pigeon, stew or woodcock. Older game needs a robust Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Côtes de Rhône-Villages such as Vacqueyras


Fruity Beaujolais – Côte de Brouilly or Hautes Côtes de Beaune In a cream sauce: White Burgundy, Alsace Pinot Gris, Sauvignon-de-Saint-Bris


Roast: Fine Red Bordeaux, Bourgeuil Stewed in onions, mushrooms and cream: Médoc or Beaujolais-Villages