Banyuls pairs best with chocolate, berries, coffee, creamy desserts and fruity desserts.  Banyuls Rouge AOC is a sweet red wine with a luxurious velvety texture produced in France’s Roussillon region. Banyuls is similar to Port in that it is a fortified wine, which means additional spirits have been added to it (making Banyuls high in alcohol).

Styles of Banyuls AOC

Banyuls Rouge AOC must be comprised of 50% Grenache Noir and aged for a minimum of 12 months.  Other grapes you’ll find in Banyuls are Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah, Muscat, Macabeo and Tourbat.  Banyuls AOC is similar to a young port in that it’s fruity with notes of cherries, plums, chocolate, raisins and sweet spices.  This ruby version is the more common style you’ll find in North America.

While typically served as a dessert wine, Banyuls AOC may be served over ice with a twist of lemon as an aperitif.

Notable producers of Banyuls Rouge include Domaine du Mas Blanc, Clos de Paulilles, La Cave de L’Abbe Rouse and Domaine La Tour.

Banyuls Rancio – if you see the word “Rancio” on the label, that means the wine has seen some oxidative ageing and thus will take on a nuttier flavour as you’d find in Sherry. Along with the fruiter notes you’d expect, you’ll also get notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate, toast and vanilla.

Banyuls Grand Cru & Banyuls Rancio Grand Cru.  These style of Banyuls must be 75% Grenache. Additionally, they must be aged for a minimum of 30 months. This is a wine that can be aged for decades and may turn amber, then mahogany with age.  Due to the additional ageing, expect some fruitier notes but more emphasis on coffee, nut, spice and chocolate flavours.

White Banyuls
Banyuls may also be made in a white wine style or a rosé style, however, you won’t find many examples of these outside of France.

Pairing Banyuls Rouge AOC with Food

Red Banyuls AOC is the most common style of Banyuls you’ll find, and this ruby-red version of the wine is what we’ll focus on for food pairings.

BanyulsDark Chocolate
BanyulsSemi-Sweet Chocolate
BanyulsFourme D'ambert Cheese
BanyulsHazelnut Banana French Toast
BanyulsRoquefort Cheese
BanyulsBayley Hazen Blue Cheese
BanyulsCoffee-Flavored Desserts
BanyulsStrawberry Desserts
BanyulsIce Cream
BanyulsSweet and Sour Chicken
BanyulsCherry Desserts
BanyulsCurrant Desserts
BanyulsBlue Cheese
BanyulsCustard Desserts
BanyulsFoie Gras
BanyulsNutty Desserts
BanyulsRaspberry Dessert
BanyulsRice Pudding
BanyulsSoufflé Sweet
Banyuls, VintageBeef Teriyaki

Banyuls AOC and Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate

Banyuls AOC is sweet but not as sweet and syrupy as some of the more extreme dessert wines.  Thus you’ll want to pair it with moderately sweet desserts, as if the dessert is sweeter, you won’t be able to taste the Banyuls.  Dark Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Chocolate strike the right chord of sweetness and brings out the espresso, raisin and macerated red fruit notes of Banyuls.  Meanwhile, the Banyuls eliminates the bitterness of the chocolate and the combined flavours end up making the cholate taste like espresso and orange, making for a perfect pairing.

Banyuls & Coffee Cake Pairing

With its flavours of dried fruit, expresso, vanilla, and black cherry, Banyuls is a no-brainer with coffee cake.  Coffee Cake is sweet, however, the coffee flavours bring down the sweetness with its bitter flavours, which allows you to taste both the Banyuls and the Coffee cake on the finish.

Banyuls & Dried Fruit Pairing

Banyuls has a dried fruit quality to it that makes it excellent with dried fruit found on its own, engulfed in dark chocolate, in fruit cakes, or as a trail mix.  While pairing up Banyuls and a handful of trail mix might sound simple, I assure you, this pairing is wonderful!

Banyuls & Chocolate Brownies Pairing

Chocolate Brownies loaded with nuts have the perfect amount of sweetness to jive well with the chocolate, cherry, raisin and spice flavours of Banyuls.

Banyuls & Banana Split Pairing

I find ice cream on its own too sweet for Banyuls AOC. However, a Banana Split has just the right level of sweetness as the bananas, whipped cream, nuts, and chocolate sauce bring the sweetness level down to the Banyuls level of sweetness.  The chocolate, vanilla, and nuttier flavours of Banyuls complement the nuts, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce in your Banana Split, while the fruitier notes of Banyuls shine through and provide refreshment.

Other Banyuls Pairings

You’ll also find that Banyuls pairs well with foie gras, melon, tapas, sweet and sour chicken or pork, goat cheese, beef teriyaki, and blue cheese.