Wine with Duck

When pairing wine and duck one should consider the seasonings and type of duck. Is this is wild duck that you recently killed on a hunting spree (likely tough, gamey, and dry — wild animals do not keep as much fat as well as use their muscles much more so wild duck muscles are incredibly tough compared to farmed duck), or is this duck that you purchased from a farm (more likely lusciously fatty, and tender)? These things matter – not only to a chef but also to the diner – because the texture of your meat will be greatly affected.

If the duck is wild, I suggest confit cooking in duck fat and shredding into arancini for an hor d’oeuvre. In this case I would suggest a Chardonnay from Burgundy, a richer bodied but still crisp style, from Mersault. Alternatively, a Chenin Blanc from South Africa would provide a slightly oily mouthfeel to counteract the dryness of the meat. Both of these wines would also offer plenty of acidity to refresh the palate and brighten the experience.

If you are serving duck breast that has been pan roasted with duck fat or butter and herbs, a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, such as Volnay or Pommard would be a nice tart fruited, aromatic and rustic style wine. A white option could be a white Bordeaux (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend) look for the Pessac-LĂ©ognan or Graves areas. These wines will offer notes of white florals, beeswax, and peach. These notes as well as the medium body and higher acidity will pair well with the juicy tender duck.

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