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Nov 12, 2006 01:02 AM

foie gras and wine for appetizers

I know that the classic pairing is foie gras with Sauterne or another sweet wine. My question is, if you do this at the beginning of a meal, doesn't the rest of your food/wine pairing for the rest of the meal get affected by the taste of Sauterne or ice wine, let's say, on the palate?

What would be a good wine to drink with foie at the beginning of a meal?

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  1. Not at all...

    BUT... remember that it is a "decadent" match. Few appetizers say "this is going to be a stupendous meal" quite like foie gras & Sauternes... So, my experience is that you want to have it as an appetizer of an "overall decadent" meal.

    ALSO... keep a few glasses of the Sauternes in hand. Have it later with Roquefort on the Cheese course and/or with a luscious fruit-based dessert course!! This way your Sauternes hits the meal 2 or 3 times with one wave of decadence after the other. Enjoy.

    1. Here's a different take on the subject.

      First off, HOW are you serving the foie gras? As a terrine, chilled? Or it this for a plated first course served seared? and what are you serving alongside it as counterpoint?

      All these factors cintribute to what would pair with it.

      There are other wines that go wonderfully with Foie Gras than Sauternes. We all know that Sauternes is quite pricy, and many of us like to enjoy foie gras more often than we can afford the Sauternes!

      The first time I ever had foie gras, it was served with Muscat des Beaumes de Venise, the sweet wine from the South of France. to this day, that is what I prefer to serve with it... Just a small glass, and no, it won't wreck your palate for the rest of the dinner!

      Chicago Mike must be an extremely wealthy man to be able to afford that much Sauternes for a dinner party. Or perhaps he is talking about dinner for two?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        I'm with you on the Muscat des Beaumes de Vinese. This is a favorite pairing, especially if the foie gras is a first plate. OTOH, a .75 of a lessor Sauternes is not that pricey, and will go a lo-o-ong way, even with a sitting of 12.

        Recently had a wonderful Canadian Late Harvest Apple Cider with a seared foie gras, but with some apples, as a first plate in London. What a wonderful match!!!!

        TBA Rieslings also do justice to foie gras, if seared, and I agree that the small amount of sweeter wines will not hamper the other courses. I've followed up with a Meursault for a pear/Gorgonzola salad, then a Sancerre, or Chablis for the fish course. Yes, I know, lighter to more full-bodied, dry to sweeter, but if done with the course, I've not had a problem. Even when having a medium-bodied Zin with a passed appetizer, then moving on to SBs and Chards, hasn't posed a big problem. Now, if I was doing a tasting, I'd opt for the old sage of light white on to big red and follow the profiles fairly closely.


        1. re: ChefJune

          Why extremely wealthy? You can get great half-bottles of Sauternes for 25-35 bucks. We're not shooting for Chauteau d'Yquem here, just a solid bottling with "tipico" flavor because we're going more for the food/wine match that the wine by itself. I do half-pours, sip it rather than chugging it and a half bottle can go a long ways for 2 or 3 diners.

          That said, my favorite alternative to Sauternes as Foie Gras match is Late Harvest Riesling.

          Never tried MdBdV, always did desserts with it, but with Foie Gras it sounds plausible. My only question is if it might be just a bit TOO sweet but otherwise I'd wouldn't turn a taste of that match down.

        2. The ideal match for foie gras depends on several factors including the basic preparation (pâté, terrine, seared, roasted, raw, etc.), what it shares the plate with (sweetness, acidity, fruit flavours, etc.) and its context in the meal (followed by a fish course? part of an Alsatian dinner? etc.).

          While the pairing of foie and Sauternes may be classic, that doesn't mean that every Sauternes is a good choice. A tooth-achingly sweet, heavily botrytized Sauternes provides no relief from foie's inherent richness: it weighs heavily on the palate and cuts the appetite, a deadly combination at the start of a meal. Better to reach for a young, higher-acid, off-dry (as opposed to sweet) and un- or lightly botrytized wine from Sauternes, a nearby appellation (St-Croix du Mont, Cerons, Loupiac, Bergerac, etc.) or elsewhere (Pacherenc du Vic Bihl, Jurançon, Condrieu, the Loire or Alsace).

          Several dry wines make glorious matches with foie, especially when the dish is more savoury than sweet. Try a rich white from Burgundy (e.g. Meursault, Montrachet), Graves/Pessac Léognan, the Loire (Vouvray, Montlouis) or Alsace (Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris). Or a silky aged red from the Médoc, Graves, Pomerol, Cahors, Madiran or even Côte Rôtie or Hermitage. A winey champagne can be exquisite. And at a recent sherry tasting, a medjool date stuffed with torchon-style foie gras paired stunningly with one of Lustau's pungent Almacenista Amontillados.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carswell

            "Try a rich white from Burgundy (Meursault, Montrachet)"

            Please don't forget Corton-Charlemagne, my top choice for foie gras.

            1. re: RicRios

              Far be it from me to forget CC. The parenthetical wines were meant as examples. Have added an e.g. to make that clearer.

          2. Thanks for all the replies, guys! I guess I'll do a gewurz or a late harvest riesling or vidal (I'm in Ontario so many are very good). The foie will be served hot and it is part of a rather rich meal. BUt some people might have chicken or fish after so I would want to do anything too heavy. So a sweetish white seems to be the best choice.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ctl98

              Have you done the foie gras deed? If I still have time to add my comment...foie gras and some late-harvest wine, especially
              Sauternes, is the single greatest pairing of food and wine EVER.

              INMO. Yeah, yeah, others will disagree.

              My tip: Look for reasonably priced Sauternes like Raymond-LaFon, Rayne Vigneau, La Tour Blanche and go for it. The wines that follow will not be affected at all by beginning with a sweet wine.
              The reason: it's served with savory food and works spectacularly.

              Report back on any ecstasy experienced...

              1. re: maria lorraine

                The late-harvest wines from nearby Monbazillac and Gaillac are similar to lower-priced Sauternes. Monbazillac is the standard pairing in Paris.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Agreed, Monbazillac is a great choice, though I've also enjoyed several wines from the Loire -- Coteaux du Layon, Vouvray Moelleux and the like -- with fois.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I agree, and have also had good pairings with wines from Barsac and Cadillac.

                    Also, we recently paired seared foie with a nice Moscato d'Asti and it was delicious!!! I was surprise at how well they went together. And a decent bottle is rarely over $20 (lower alcohol, lower taxes) The one we had was a La Spinetta but Banfi makes a good one and there is another good one in a bulbous bottle with light blue writing and a beer bottle cap closure

              2. FYI, I saw a Sauternes Chateau Haut-Bergeron at the Costco in Santa Clara, CA. $25/750mL bottle.