For White wine, the best wines to pair with Duck à L’Orange are Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sparkling Wine. For red wine, Merlot, Zinfandel, a Morgon Beaujolais Cru, Pinot Noir and Côtes du Rhône all make for excellent picks with Duck à l’Orange. You don’t want a red wine that is too old or too expensive as the orange sauce will destroy a lot of the red wine’s flavour.

Roast Duck à L’Orange is a difficult dish to pair wine with as you’re either pairing up to the orange sauce, which is sweet and sour, or you’re matching up to the rich and crispy Duck itself. No wine does both very well, and thus, there’s a lot of give and take with these recommendations. My ratings might be a little inflated, however, I’ve kept them high as, given the right circumstances, wine with Duck l’Orange remains a delicious treat.

What Does Duck à l’Orange Taste Like?

Duck à l’Orange is rich, savoury and slightly sweet and sour due to the glaze being a mix of orange juice, sugar, red wine and vinegar. Expect crispy duck skin full of juicy fat glazed with a slightly sweet orange sauce that is balanced with vinegar. The sauce is then drizzled onto your Duck after it has been cooked, sliced and plated, similar to how gravy is added to roast beef.

Duck à L’Orange used to be a popular menu item in restaurants during the 1970s to 1980s. It has since fallen out of popularity, and rarely found on menus any more, unless it is a re-imagined version. Fortunately, there are many recipes online that you can use to recreate a classics Roast Duck a l’Orange.

Best Wine with Duck à l’Orange

White WineGewürztraminerDuck à l'Orange
White WineAuslese RieslingDuck à l'Orange
White WineFrankstein Grand Cru - Pinot GrisDuck à l'Orange
White WinePinot Gris, AlsaceDuck à l'Orange
Red WinePinot NoirDuck à l'Orange
White WineAltenberg De Bergbieten Grand Cru - GewurztraminerDuck à l'Orange
White WineAltenberg De Bergheim Grand Cru - RieslingDuck à l'Orange
White WineEichberg Grand Cru - Pinot GrisDuck à l'Orange
White WineChardonnayDuck à l'Orange
Red WineZinfandelDuck à l'Orange
Red WineMorgon (AOP) - Beaujolais CruDuck à l'Orange
Red WineCôtes du Rhône, RedDuck à l'Orange
Sparkling WineSparkling WineDuck à l'Orange
White WinePinot GrigioDuck à l'Orange
Red WineMerlotDuck à l'Orange
Red WineSyrahDuck à l'Orange
White WineFumé BlancDuck à l'Orange
Red WineBarbaresco DOCGDuck à l'Orange
White WineViognierDuck à l'Orange

Alsace Pinot Gris & Duck à l’Orange Pairing

An Alsace Pinot Gris features notes of tangerine and mandarin, which complements the orange sauce of Duck à L’Orange.  Pinot Gris from other parts of the world will be much too light to handle the rich duck flavours, however, Alsace Pinot Gris is full-bodied and bolder with a high acidity to cut through the crispy duck skin and the orange glaze.

Packed with layers of flavour, such as apricot, citrus, honey, flowers, nuts, peach, pear, spice, smoke, stone and mineral, Pinot Gris pairs better with the orange sauce much better than the mallard.  However, the wine is bold enough to not completely get drowned out by the rich and tender duck meat.

Off-Dry Gewürztraminer & Duck à l’Orange Pairing

In the wine community, Gewürztraminer and Duck à l’Orange is a controversial pairing. Either you love the way the floral and lychee aromatics of Gewürztraminer complement the orange sauce, or you find the much too flowery for the rich duck meat.

Off-Dry means there is some residual sugar left in the bottle making it slightly sweet.  I stress the word slightly, as there is only a kiss of sweetness that complements the sweeter side of the orange sauce.  On top of lychee and roses, which Gewürztraminer is most famous for, expect additional flavours of apricot, cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger, all of which hold up to the rich gamey duck flavours.

Chardonnay & Duck à l’Orange Pairing

The rich and full-mouth feel of Chardonnay is what makes it pair so well with Duck à l’Orange.  The buttery mouthfeel of Chardonnay matches the richness of the Duck, meanwhile, you’ll find some citrus and tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and lemon that complement the orange sauce.  These qualities make Chardonnay a middle-of-the-road pairing for Duck à l’Orange as finds a home with both the Duck and the sauce in a satisfactory manner.

Wolf Blass Chardonnay - Yellow Label

Zinfandel & Duck à l’Orange Pairing

A fruity and medium-bodied Zinfandel is going to have the right amount of sweetness to jive with the sweetness found in the orange sauce.  Unfortunately, the jammy blueberry, blackberry and cherry flavours do not complement the citrus sauce, but rather, they offer a nice contrast to the rich duck flavours.

Zinfandel has a subtle smoke flavour that I love, and it’s perfect with the crispy roast duck skin.  You’ll also find plenty of acidity in an un-oaked Zinfandel that cuts through the fatty and moist duck meat, making each bite taste fresh.  On top of this, you’ll find hints of black pepper, spice, tar, chocolate and coffee that melt into the duck flavours.

Don’t spend too much on your Zinfandel, as the orange sauce will drown out the subtler flavours of your Zinfandel.  With Duck à l’Orange you want a red wine that is fruity and juicy to hold up to the sauce and contrast the duck meat.  Expensive Zinfandel will be aged in oak, adding flavours that will only get swamped out by the orange sauce.

Pinot Noir & Canard à l’Orange Pairing

I’m hesitant to recommend a Pinot Noir with Duck à l’Orange, as if you are heavy on the orange sauce, it’s going to overwhelm the subtle nuances of a light and delicate Pinot Noir. On the other hand, Pinot Noir is phenomenal with Duck.  So if you go this route, I’d suggest only a minimal amount of orange sauce drizzled on your duck meat.  Perhaps keep it strictly to the crispy skin, and savour the rest of the duck meat with your glass of Pinot Noir.

The reason why Pinot Noir goes so well with Duck is that it’s both fruity and earthy.  The elegant notes of black and red cherry, raspberry and strawberry help mask the gaminess of the Duck, meanwhile the aromas of mushroom, truffle, chocolate, coffee and cinnamon are heightened by the Duck.  I’d stay away from Burgundy, and reach for an Oregon, followed up by a California Pinot Noir with Duck à l’Orange

You do have to be careful with this pairing as good Pinot Noir is expensive, and too much orange sauce on your Duck will this wine’s funky vibe.  Cheap Pinot Noir is often a candied and artificially flavoured mess of a red wine that lacks the earthiness and elegance of true Pinot Noir, so it will not go very well with the Duck, but its fake sweetness will be relatively okay with the orange sauce.