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Wine for duck

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I'm making a very simple slow-roasted duck (garlic, rosemary, clementine oranges) and, for some reason, I seem to be fixated on serving a nice Chianti with it. Does this make sense to anyone else? Or...what else would you suggest. I am a very good cook, but a very bad wine-pairer.

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  1. I think a good Chianti riserva or other superior sangiovese such as a Brunello would be great with that.

    1. Have you considered Pinot Noir?

      1 Reply
      1. re: LisaC

        I considered Pinot Noir but to be honest, I'm not such a fan of Pinot...terrible to say, I know. I guess I just want to serve a wine I really enjoy. As long as it's not completely wrong. My son would make me sit out in the hall for that. (He's such a culinary snob - where did I go wrong/right?)

      2. Actually a Chianti will go fine, but not a Reserva, that would be a little too powerful. I love Pinot Noir, but it is easy to not like the inexpensive ones. Have you thought about serving a nice Rioja or if you want to be less expensive, a nice Cotes du Rhone?

        1 Reply
        1. re: dinwiddie

          I was thinking of exactly these same points.
          Normally I would go with pinot noir as first choice of pairing with duck, but an earthier French rather than fruit foward variety.

          I would think Rioja would be at roughly the same price level as Cotes du Rhone. But I agree that either would be good choices. If the garlic roasted as well, I recall a phenomenal pairing with El Coto Crianza (should it be available in your area).

        2. You can never go wrong with a wine from Rioja, and the El Coto is a great (inexpensive) example.

          1. I thought of Pinot, too. But Chianti would be fine. I also think a Riserva would be fine, as would a Rosso di Montalcino or a lighter Brunello. Any Southern Rhone (Gigondas, Chateauneuf du Pape, most Cotes du Rhone) would probably also work though, again, some CdPs may be a little strong for the duck.

            1. Chianti works well with roasted duck (think Marcella Hazan's recipe), so it's probably a safe bet provided the sauce isn't sweet. Personally, I'd incline more toward France. Left bank Bordeaux, specifically Graves, is the classic red pairing for duck à l'orange; Sauternes (not the tooth-achingly sweet ones) and similar wines from the satellite appellations the classic white. The rosemary and garlic might push me toward the south: Bandol, Palette (Château Simone), an old Cahors or one of those Provençal cabernet-syrah blends like Trévallon.

              1. Pinot Noir is THE "duck" wine... regardless of whether you like it by itself or not, you're almost certain to like the food/wine matchup...

                If you want to raise it to ethereal level, try just a hint of truffle to the duck in some manner either in a marinade or along with the garlic/rosemary/orange accompaniment.

                1. When considering wine with food I tend to look at what the food served in the Old World wine regions, as the discipline of flavour, seasonality and locality tend to result in pairings that show both food and wine to best advantage. While you may not like Pinot Noir by itself, what it brings to food and vice versa can be magical. Paired well it is magnificent; paired with an overpowering or inappropriate food (e.g. too acidic, too spicy, etc.) it is a disappointing experience.

                  With that, I agree with Chicago Mike that Pinot Noir would show the best of what duck and wine can do together. The gaminess of the duck with a terroir driven wine is a wonderful
                  pairing. Duck confit, cassoulet, roasted duck, pan seared breast with a cranberry brandy confit are all preparations I have enjoyed with this wine.

                  However - don't stop reading yet! Based on my travels through France, I also suggest considering the Rhone varietals - Syrahs from Paso Robles or something from the Northern Rhone region (depending on your budget) would be nice. Caution on the Shiraz from Down Under - too jammy, hot and alcoholic - could possibly overpower the beauty of your duck. Terroir focus is the key. If you like the Southern Rhone style (blend of Grenach, Mouvedre, Syrah and a handful of other not so well known varietals) I don't think you would be disappointed.

                  Last suggestion - and I've done lots with this varietal - Petite Syrah (Sirah). It is a 'child' of Syrah, but by no means petite. It is a beautiful wine, with cassis, black cherry and dark berry fruit tones. While it pairs well with duck, lamb and spicy roasted meats, it is also a nice accompaniment to dark, bittersweet chocolates. You can find some reasonably priced domestic PS's. If you want to know more about who produces, check the PSiloveyou.org.

                  The one food point about wine pairing is to watch your acidity. I noticed you are incorporating clementines in your roast. Depending on how you are using the citrus, and how much you use, the acidity could affect the perception of the wine.

                  1. While the sublimely fatty, red-meaty texture of duck would naturally suggest a pairing with any of the reds mentioned so far, don't discount the possibility of round, acidic, voluptuous, sweet riesling from a top German producer like Leitz or JJ Christoffel.

                    Such a wine might pair especially well with any sweet, citrusy notes imparted by your oranges.

                    1. Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. I ended up serving a nice, non-reserva Chianto - Castello di Querceto - with the duck and it was really delicious. I guess I just needed at least one person to tell me it wasn't totally insane, which it wasn't. I realize that pinot is the classic pairing, but since my experience with pinot noir hasn't been great (probably, yes, picking the wrong ones, I admit) I wanted to serve something I love with a dish I love. The duck was slow roasted - 5 hours - with a couple of clementines, a sprig or rosemary and some mashed garlic in the cavity. The clementines only added a citrusy fragrance, no acidity at all. I squeezed a bit of clementine juice into the pan sauce but it wasn't at all acidic either so it all worked very nicely.

                      There were 5 of us and we almost entirely devoured 2 ducks. Served roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed rapini and a salad of mixed greens, fennel and red onion with a very light olive oil and white balsamic dressing and a few chunks of clementine sprinkled on top.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Nyleve

                        It's a classic pairing in Tuscany.

                      2. I"m sure Chianti is great. I love mature bordeaux with goose and duck.