Food and WineMatching: Duck


Overall Winners: Burgundy Pinot Noir, Beaujolais
Duck, Goose, Quail, Guinea Fowl and Turkey are all quite flavoursome for farmed fowl and can cope with more powerfully flavoured wines than those chosen to complement chicken. A Pinot Noir, especially from Burgundy, will match the slight gameyness of these birds.

Foie Gras, Duck Pâté: Sauternes, Barsac, Sweet Loire Wines
Whether Duck or Goose liver, is an incredibly rich and luxurious dish. To balance both the richness and high-fat content a very sweet wine with marked acidity is required. Sauternes or Barsac wines are the usual partner to this dish, whether it is served cold as Pâté de Foie Gras or hot as Pan-Fried Foie Gras. However any other cool-climate, good-quality sweet White would also be good; Tokaji, or a Monbazillac for example. Duck Pâté is not quite as rich and so a slightly less unctuous wine is required. An Alsace Pinot Gris would be delicious, as would a sweet White Loire (Vouvray, Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, Quarts de Chaume).

Roast Duck: Light Pinot Noir
The perfect wine with Roast Duck is a light-styled Red Burgundy (also Passetoutegrains red) with the raspberry/cherry fruit flavours of these wines complementing the duck's flavour. If the dish is to be accompanied by a fruit sauce such as orange or cherry, the wine should be chosen to complement the sauce.

Roast Duck with Orange Sauce: Australian Chardonnay, off-dry Vouvray
With an orange sauce try a ripe Australian Chardonnay or better still an off-dry Vouvray wine; the slight sweetness will balance the fattiness of the duck.

Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce: Riesling Spälese, Beaujolais Cru
Cherry sauce will match both Red and White wines. For White try a German Riesling Spätlese or if you prefer drier wines, then a Red Beaujolais Cru will have sufficiently low tannins so as not to clash with the duck.

Confit de Canard: Alsace Pinot Gris, Marsanne, Rousanne
Preserved in its own fat, Confit de Canard is best with an off-dry, aromatic variety that will cope with the greasiness of the dish. An Alsace Pinot Gris is a sensational match. Again for those with a not-so-sweet tooth try varieties indigenous to the South of France like Picpoul or Marsanne or Roussanne. Reds also work; try a light-styled Red Burgundy, or if the Confit is served with that other Dordogne speciality Ceps, select a Cahors or a top Californian Merlot.

Pan-fried Duck Breast: Light Burgundy Pinot Noir
With pan-fried duck breast we return to our banker wine the light-styled Red Burgundy. This would be especially delicious if a simple sauce is made by deglazing the pan with a splash of raspberry vinegar.

Roast Goose: Mature Burgundy Pinot Noir or Claret
Even if you prick the skin of your goose to let the fat run out as it roasts, goose is still the richest and fattiest of meats. It is expensive and hard to find nowadays and so Roast Goose is a real luxury that deserves a top quality Red Burgundy or a mature Claret.

Confit d'Oie: Red Bordeaux
For Confit d'Oie select the same wines as for Confit de Canard, or trade-up to a mature Red Bordeaux.

Cassoulet: Cahors, Beaujolais
Cassoulet is a big, hearty dish which needs an intensely fruity Red like a Cahors (Malbec-based), a robust Madiran, a rich Syrah from the Southern Rhone or a Beaujolais Cru like a Morgon.

Guinea Fowl: White Burgundy, Beaujolais
The meat of Guinea Fowl is darker and more flavoursome than chicken, with a gamey nuance, but it is more overwhelmed by wine than duck or goose. A buttery (oaked) White Burgundy is probably the best match, with practically all Reds being too tannic except a Beaujolais. If served with a sauce this will dominate the meat and so match the wine to complement the sauce.

Quail & Turkey: Rich Chardonnays
Quail and Turkey are also light-flavoured, albeit more fuller-flavoured than chicken. In both cases tannic wines should be avoided at all cost, with full-bodied Chardonnays being the most reliable partner. If you really want a Red then you must buy a mature wine to ensure the tannins have softened adequately. A mature Claret (Pomerol, St Estephe, Margaux, St Julien) will fit the bill.

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