Wine Pairings – Duck Two Ways

This post starts what I intend to be a series on paring wine with food. The traditional approaches to this subject usually begin in one of two places. They start with very general kinds of food (e.g. chicken,fish) and suggest wine to go with them, or they start with a type of wine and suggest very general kinds of food to go with them. This can be helpful when you are trying to wrap your head around the basics of pairings but can miss some of the subtleties that make good pairing a joy. I am going to take a different approach were I talk about specific meals and why I paired specific wines with them.

For starters, last Wednesday was my wife’s birthday; Happy Birthday! I made a roast duck with pan roasted potatoes and sauted spinach for diner. The wine I chose was a Pinot Noir from Chile made by Bosler. People frequently think of Pinot Noir as being either new world (very fruity with low tannins) or old world (less fruit, more tannin and acidity). The Bosler may be made in the new world but it is old world in style. Old world style Pinot Noir’s are a great match for duck. Duck tends to be fatty with a fairly strong flavor. The fruit flavors work well with duck and the acidity helps cut through the fat. The tannin provides a nice balance that makes you want to come back for more duck followed by more wine. Yum.

For the second way, well it was a big duck and we had left overs. I made a duck hash with poached eggs for brunch. The duck hash was mostly potatoes with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, red pepper and some herbs and spices, most notably smoked Spanish paprika. I love bubbles with brunch so I made kir royal’s to go with the hash and eggs. Kir royal is a wine cocktail made from sparkling wine (I used a sparkling wine from Burgundy but any Champagne style sparkling wine works well. It would be a waste to use real Champagne though). The bubbles are mixed with Cassis, a black current flavored liquor. One again the acidity helped cut through the fat of the duck and sauted potatoes and the casis flavor went well with the duck. There is a classic French dish of roast duck in cassis sauce. Once again, Yum.

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