Top pairings | Six of the best wine pairings with cassoulet

Pairings | Cassoulet

Six of the best wine pairings with cassoulet

Anyone who has a passing knowledge of cassoulet will know that there are hotly disputed arguments about what constitutes the authentic version. But whichever way you make it it’s a substantial dish, a slow-cooked casserole of beans, meat and herbs. French-style comfort food.

I see little reason to stray away from the wines of cassoulet’s homeland of south-west France and personally much prefer red to white as a match. Here’s what I’d go for...

6 Best Wine Pairings with Cassoulet

Marcillac

Probably my favourite choice, a delicious bright fruity red made from Mansois, the local name for Fer Servadou.

Madiran

Can be a little high in alcohol for such a heavy dish but if you like more robust reds it’s a good choice

Cahors (and other malbecs)

Another south-western French red that hits the spot. Malbecs from elsewhere in France and more savoury European styles of Argentinian Malbec would work well too.

Hearty Languedoc reds such as Minervois and Corbières.

Kate Hill, author of Cassoulet, A French Obsessio, recommends a biodynamic Coteaux du Languedoc called Far Ouest made by biodynamic wine producer Mylene Bru.

Côtes du Roussillon

Lighter and brighter than some of the more expensive and extracted Roussillon reds, their freshness would offset the richness of cassoulet well.

Côtes du Rhône Villages

A good Côtes du Rhône especially from a named village like Séguret or Valréas would also be a good match as would a Costières de Nîmes

If you want to stray over the border into Spain there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t drink a Rioja crianza or a Mencia.

And if you wanted a white I’d go for a white Côtes du Rhône.

What is cassoulet and what are its origins? 

Cassoulet is a hearty French dish that hails from the southwest regions of France, particularly associated with towns like Toulouse, Castelnaudary, and Carcassonne. It's a slow-cooked casserole traditionally containing meat (like pork sausages, goose, duck, or mutton), white beans, and herbs. The dish is known for its deep, rich flavors and comforting qualities, evolving from peasant origins to become a celebrated staple of French cuisine.

What variations of cassoulet exist and how should they affect my wine choice?

Cassoulet variations include the Toulouse, Castelnaudary, and Carcassonne versions, differing mainly in the type of meat used. Seafood cassoulet introduces a lighter variant. When choosing wine, consider the dish's main ingredients: robust meats pair well with full-bodied reds like Syrah or Malbec. If the cassoulet includes seafood, opt for a fuller white wine like Chardonnay. The spice level and ingredients' richness should guide whether you choose a wine with more tannins or acidity to balance the flavors.

Can you recommend a recipe for cassoulet that works particularly well with the wines above? 

There are many different ways of making a cassoulet and my own favourite recipe doesn’t claim to be authentic but it does contain the crucial components of duck, lamb, Toulouse sausages and outrageous amounts of garlic. 

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Comments: 5 (Add)

David Natt on January 15 2023 at 19:50

Negrette? ie Fronton.
Gaillac Rouge?
Rich rose works too.

Andy on January 15 2023 at 13:24

I had a really great 2004 Domaine Tempier Bandol last time I had cassoulet and they went really well together.

Fiona Beckett on February 24 2018 at 14:28

Interesting thought @Dennis Lapuyade. Can imagine that working.

And sorry to have missed your comment, @Carswell. I love an Irouleguy too.

Dennis Lapuyade on February 24 2018 at 13:19

Mylene Bru's weird, somewhat oxidative Chasselas would be a good choice too if a white is desired.

carswell on March 19 2016 at 18:50

Another sud-ouest red, Irouleguy, is my favourite match, though, as you note, many reds from the region work well. Of all the extra-regional wines I've tried, "lighter" Petite Sirahs have fared best. My 2012 report with a few specific suggestions: http://bretthappens.com/2012/02/21/cassoulet-wines/

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