Wine & Food: What Wine Goes with Duck?

Vintage Roots

Wine with duck: a match made in heaven?


Duck is one of those elegant meats you can’t help but love. What could be better than a beautiful duck a l’orange, or some tasty duck pâté spread on salty crackers? We’ve found that adding the right wine can take the flavours of duck to a whole new level, making these meals even better.

Duck is a beautifully fatty meat, with rich flavours brought out by the spices used to cook it. Regardless of how you choose to prepare the duck, there is a wine to pair with it.

It’s a versatile meat, which is why we’ve come up with a wide range of wines to serve with your duck. Of course, we’d always recommend choosing organic meat for the best flavour, texture and sustainability.

The ideal wine for duck will usually be flavourful with a good acidity to cut through the fattiness. This makes for a delicious contrast, enhancing both the food and the wine. Below, we’ll explain which wines to choose according to the type of duck you are eating…

Duck and Wine Pairing: Roasted Duck

roasted duck and wine pairing

Roast duck is one of our favourite dishes!

The wine you serve will depend on the range of herbs and spices used in the cooking.

The classic roasted duck and wine pairing is Pinot Noir.

Something about the cherry and earthy flavours of a good Pinot Noir helps to accentuate the stronger flavours of the duck, particularly if there are no over-strong herbs or spices. Pinot Noir can stand on its own, and it has a bright acidity, freshness, and strong fruity red flavours that contrast with the duck.

For a perfect wine with duck pairing, try The Collectables Pinot Noir.

 The Collectables Pinot Noir

The Collectables Pinot Noir

This is gloriously expressive, made from hand-picked grapes that were chilled to preserve the flavours. Coming from New Zealand, this has more body than many European Pinots, so there’s no danger of the duck overpowering the wine.

Barolo, made from the Nebbiolo grape, is an excellent alternative if you’re serving roast duck.

DOCG Barolo Vigna Rocche

DOCG Barolo Vigna Rocche

With flavours similar to Pinot Noir, but more tannic, it will complement the flavours of the duck beautifully. A classic match for Barolo is truffle, but porcini also work brilliantly with the wine and the meat. Barolo and Burgundy are great choices for most cream or mushroom-based sauces.

Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Now, what wine goes with duck that is prepared with stronger flavours?

If you’re preparing an Asian-style duck (complete with tangy spices and sauces), you’ll want to try Merlot. The rich, sweet flavours work well with the spices, while the acidity provides a cleansing finish. Go for a European Merlot such as the L’Ecuyer de Couronneau from Bordeaux to ensure there’s enough acidity.

 AOC Bordeaux Supérieur L'Ecuyer de Couronneau

AOC Bordeaux Supérieur L’Ecuyer de Couronneau

For olive or tomato-based sauces, you’ll want to try a nice Chianti. It’s also a good option with duck that’s well-done, or cooked for a longer period. We’re particularly fond of DOCG Chianti Tenuta San Vito, a Tuscan Chianti made from Sangiovese grapes.

DOCG Chianti Tenuta San Vito

DOCG Chianti Tenuta San Vito

The savoury red fruit character of this wine has just the right balance of acidity to bring you the cherry flavours that pair nicely with duck.

What Wine Goes With Duck a l’Orange?

 Duck a l'Orange and wine pairing

Duck a l’orange is a classic European dish.

The fruity sauce is perfect to complement the fatty duck meat, providing a palate-enchanting balance of bright and rich flavours, but it does make for a rather tricky wine match.

One of the best types of wine with duck a l’orange is Gewurztraminer, an aromatic, full-bodied white. The fruit flavours of the sauce will be complemented perfectly by the softer, richly-bouqueted wine. We’re particularly fond of AOC Alsace Gewurztraminer André Stentz, an Alsatian wine like nothing else.

 AOC Alsace Gewurztraminer André Stentz

AOC Alsace Gewurztraminer André Stentz

With its lychee and orange rind flavours, floral notes, and spicy finish, it’s a wine that pairs perfectly with the orange sauce on the duck.

If the sauce is apple-based, you may want to try a Riesling thanks to it’s lighter, fruity charachter. We recommend the Bee Blauschiefer Honigberg Riesling Kabinett, a classic, off-dry Riesling from the Mosel, Germany, with notes of honey, marzipan, and poached pears.

Bee Blauschiefer Honigberg Riesling Kabinett

Bee Blauschiefer Honigberg Riesling Kabinett

The minerality of the wine makes it the complex match to your roast duck dish!

Best Wine to Serve with Duck Pate

duck pate and wine pairing

For the lighter styles of duck – cured duck, duck paté, rillettes, etc. – try a Beaujolais.

The cherry flavours of Beaujolais wine is delicious with the light, rich duck meat, and you won’t lose the subtler flavours beneath an overwhelming sauce.

You get the richness of the fatty meat with the bright, fruity tastes of the Beaujolais – a match made in heaven!

We highly recommend the AOC Beaujolais Quatre Saisons.

AOC Beaujolais Quatre Saisons

AOC Beaujolais Quatre Saisons

This French wine from the Chasselay family has plenty of berry flavours (cherries and raspberries) and acidity that matches perfectly with duck pate, rillettes, terrine, and other lighter-flavoured duck dishes.

Duck and Wine Pairing: Confit Duck

confit duck and wine pairing

Confit de Canard is one of our favourite duck dishes, where the duck is preserved in its own fat making it beautifully rich, albeit not the healthiest option!

There are two, complementary ways of balancing this fattiness.

One is to serve the dish with a fresh salad and vinaigrette. The second is to pair the dish with a wine with enough acidity to cut through the fat, whilst providing flavours to match the food.

The plump, dark flavours and smoky finish of Malbec make it a perfect match to the duck, but it’s possible to go with white, or even orange wines, try the Andre Stentz Pinot Blanc or the Meinklang Graupert Pinot Gris for a truly extraordinary pairing.

For a perfect Malbec pairing with your Confit de Canard, try the AOC Cahors Prieuré de Cénac Mission.

AOC Cahors Prieuré de Cénac Mission

AOC Cahors Prieuré de Cénac Mission

It’s a Malbec with 15% Merlot blend, and the combination of wines delivers a rich, spicy wine that sings on your palate. No overpowering tannins with this Cahors, but you get a soft, supple wine that has a well-rounded body and persistently long finish. Or for a fruitier Malbec, try the Domaine Bousquet Malbec, from Argentina.

Domaine Bousquet Malbec

Domaine Bousquet Malbec

Duck really does offer a fantastic variety of options when it comes to wine pairing, and there’s many more options than we were able to fit in to one post here.

Do let us know your favourites, we’d love to try them!


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