French Cuisine and Wine Pairings for Our Bastille Day Fête!

French Cuisine and Wine Pairings for Our Bastille Day Fête!


We are excited to have Matthew Gaughan of @mattswineworld introduce the groundUP dining series, a collaboration with chef Andreya Nightingale of Mortar Pestle Cooking. The two of them will be hosting a lavish dinner at Château Sonoma on Bastille Day. Read on to learn more about the amazing wine and food pairings they’ll be showcasing. 

The 14th of July is of course Bastille Day and we’ll be at Château Sonoma to take guests across France, experiencing not only its food and wine but its rich culture and history. The groundUP dining series explores the relationship between food and wine, and how the two can enhance each other and make even the simplest meal a memorable experience. And where better to start than an evening inspired by the food and wine of France, a country whose gastronomical culture influences chefs the world over!



We’re going to start in Champagne, a region of course most famous for its sparkling wine, which people are accustomed to drinking as part of a celebration – but there’s much more to champagne than a brief celebratory toast. As part of our exploration of how food and wine interact, starting with champagne demonstrates how well the wines go with food as the acidity, the yeasty texture, and the slight sweetness make champagne an ideal accompaniment to a whole range of foods. We’re going to pair a classic champagne blend with olives and anchovies, the acidity of the wine cutting through the brininess of the food.

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Then we move on to Alsace, a region that bridges France and Germany. The Germanic influence can be heard in the region’s language and tasted in the wines and food. It’s a cool climate so the wines have plenty of acidity – making them great food pairings – but the long, dry sunny days give an extra richness to the wines which is matched in the food. We’re presenting a Pinot Gris which has body and weight to go with tarte flambée filled with bacon and crème fraîche—a rich, mouth-coating dish which the Pinot Gris is strong enough to stand up to and acidic enough to cut through.

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Burgundy produces some of the world’s greatest Chardonnay, and it has a food tradition to match. We’ll be showing an exceptional Premier Cru from Beaune: a wine with fresh acidity, a full body, and a grainy texture demands food and this is going to be paired with irresistible trout quenelles which also have that combination of acidity and richness.

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We move down to the southern Rhône, the region which first inspired my passion for food and wine on holidays as a teenager. The climate here is much warmer, the days hot but the evenings cool. The wine is from the edges of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape village and its full, fruity flavors and tannic structure are paired with lamb laced with herbal, perfumed aromas. 


By this time, the food has gotten rich and the wine full so we want to take it down a notch and ease the stomach. Next to the southern Rhône is Provence, an even warmer region that produces France’s best rosés to keep the palate fresh. We’re not going to pour you just any rosé though: the wine is from France’s oldest rosé producer and has a depth and concentration that makes it stand up to strong flavors, such as those found in ratatouille.

Provence, Lavender in France, Chateau Sonoma, Bastille Day

Throughout this meal, we’ll be talking about how important acidity is to food and wine pairing: in a wine it provides the sharp edge that cuts through fat, salt, and richness of the food. For a sweet wine, it’s also important because it stops the sugar from being too cloying. In our Bastille Day celebration, we present a classic pairing – Sauternes and blue cheese – where the sweet wine balances the intense flavors of the cheese and the acidity lifts the cheese’s richness.


This meal is a celebration not just of Bastille Day but of France’s decadent gastronomic history, so of course Sauternes and cheese is not the finale – we have to have an encore. The last wine is a magnificent Vin Doux Naturel, a  fortified wine that maybe most people these days would not naturally gravitate towards but tasting it with food is a transformative experience … trust me.

So come join us on Bastille Day to celebrate all things French! 

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