Duck pairs best with fruity red wines such as Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Cru, Bordeaux, Merlot and Amarone. White wines, such as spicy Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, or sweet Sauternes, are also excellent with Duck.
Duck meat offers a distinct and rich flavour characterized by its gamey yet mild taste. It is moist, succulent, and carries an earthy undertone that adds complexity. With a delicate sweetness and tender texture, duck provides a balance of richness, moisture, and a touch of sweetness. Different parts of the duck offer slight variations in flavour, with leaner breast meat and richer, more robust flavours in the legs and thighs.
There are a variety of ways to cook Duck and dozens of duck dishes awaiting you. I have specific blogs on pairing wine with Duck Confit, Foie Gras and Duck a l’Orange available. Future blogs on specific ways of preparing ducks are coming in the future. For now, you can check the duck and wine pairing table below for the perfect wine pairing with duck, whether it is roasted duck, grilled duck, or peeking duck.
The marriage of red Burgundy wine and the duck is a celebration of complexity, with layers of flavours and textures that intertwine to create an unforgettable experience. Each sip of wine enhances the enjoyment of each bite of duck, revealing new dimensions and nuances.
Red Burgundy refers to Pinot Noir wine that is produced in the Burgundy region of France. Red Burgundy are some of the most sought-after red wines in the world due to their silky plush flavours of black cherry, strawberry, raspberry and cranberry. On top of all these velvety flavours, what drives people wild with Burgundy are its flavours of earth, mushroom and truffle.
Burgundy’s mushroom and earthy flavours blend deliciously with the earthy and gamey flavours of your duck meat. Meanwhile, the black cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavours swoop in and provide plenty of refreshment against the savoury and rich nature of the duck meat.
The versatility of Burgundy wines adapts gracefully to different preparations of duck, whether roasted, braised, or served in sauces. The wines’ acidity cut through the richness of the meat, cleansing the palate and enhancing the dining experience. This pairing is deeply rooted in regional tradition, as duck holds a prominent place in Burgundy.
On a final note, Burgundy is expensive as the Pinot Noir grape is difficult to grow and requires a lot of labour. You could substitute Burgundy for a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, California, or Oregon, however, expect to pay a lot of money for those bottles as well. Inexpensive Pinot Noir does exist on shelves, but anything under $45 a bottle is not going to capture the magic of a well-made Pinot Noir.
Merlot & Duck Pairing
Duck and Merlot is a classic and time-tested match that never fails to deliver a delectable experience. Merlot, with its velvety texture, medium body, and fruit-forward flavours, beautifully complements the richness and depth of flavours found in duck. This harmonious pairing creates a symphony of tastes and textures that tantalizes the palate.
The tender and succulent duck meat, whether roasted, grilled, or braised, finds an ideal companion in Merlot’s smooth and approachable nature. The wine’s dark fruit flavours, such as black cherry and plums, provide a luscious backdrop that enhances the savoury character of the duck. Meanwhile, the subtle notes of chocolate and tobacco are an amazing combination with the Duck’s crispy skin.
In addition, the moderate tannins in Merlot work in synergy with the richness of the duck, providing structure and balance without overpowering the dish. The wine’s acidity helps to cut through the fat and cleanse the palate, making each bite of roasted duck even more enjoyable. This combination of flavours and textures creates a culinary harmony that showcases the best qualities of both the wine and the meat.
Amarone & Duck Pairing
Amarone is a robust and full-bodied Italian wine crafted from dried grapes, resulting in a wine with concentrated flavours, rich complexity, and a velvety texture. When paired with duck, the wine’s boldness and depth perfectly complement the flavorful and succulent meat, creating an extraordinary culinary fusion.
The intense dark fruit flavours found in Amarone, such as black cherry, plum, and raisin, beautifully intertwine with the richness of the duck. The wine’s notes of chocolate, spices, and a hint of sweetness from the residual sugars create an indulgent backdrop that enhances the savoury profile of the meat. Amarone’s elevated alcohol content adds to its luxurious nature, amplifying the overall intensity of the pairing.
The richness and tenderness of duck find a harmonious balance with the boldness and elegance of Amarone. The wine’s robust structure and velvety tannins provide a solid backbone that stands up to the flavours and textures of the meat while still allowing the duck to shine. This combination showcases the best of both worlds, with the duck adding depth and substance to the wine and the Amarone elevating the dining experience to new heights of sophistication and pleasure.
Amarone will go amazing with duck prepared in a variety of ways. However, my favourite Amarone pairing is with Pasta in a Duck Sauce.
Bordeaux & Duck Pairing
Bordeaux, one of the world’s most celebrated wine regions, produces red blends featuring grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. The wines exhibit a balance of tannins, acidity, and fruitiness that beautifully complement the flavours and textures of duck, creating a symphony of tastes that embodies the artistry of French cuisine.
With Bordeaux, I’d suggest a Merlot dominant Bordeaux, which is often referred to as a right bank Bordeaux. Here, you’ll find several priced tiers of Bordeaux that are priced according to their quality. I suggest you buy the Bordeaux that best suits your budget, as even the lower-end Bordeaux are food-friendly and delicious.
The earthy and savoury flavours of duck find a perfect counterpart in the complexity and structure of Bordeaux wines. The robust tannins in the wines help cut through the meat’s richness, while the fruity notes of blackcurrant, plum, and blackberry add a delightful touch of sweetness. Bordeaux’s hints of cedar, tobacco, and spices provide an additional layer of depth, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Finally, the marriage of Bordeaux and duck extends beyond mere taste pairing; it reflects the cultural and culinary heritage of the region. Bordeaux has a longstanding tradition of pairing its wines with local cuisine, and duck holds a prominent place in the gastronomy of southwestern France. Embracing this regional tradition allows one to fully appreciate the interplay of flavours and celebrate the rich tapestry of French culinary artistry.
(Thinking of French Cuisine and Duck, my head is going wild with all the new pairings I need to suggest for dishes cooked in duck fat).
Pinotage and Smoked Duck Pairing
Pairing Pinotage wine with smoked duck creates a bold and captivating combination that delights the taste buds. Pinotage, a signature South African varietal, is known for its robust and expressive character. The wine’s deep red fruit flavours, hints of smokiness, and earthy undertones perfectly complement the rich and smoky essence of the duck. This fusion of flavours creates a harmonious balance of intensity, creating a truly memorable dining experience.
The smoky notes in both Pinotage and smoked duck intertwine to create a symphony of flavours. The wine’s hints of tobacco, black pepper, and dark berries enhance the meat’s smokiness, elevating the overall sensory experience. Pinotage’s moderate tannins and acidity provide structure and balance, cutting through the richness of the duck and ensuring a satisfying pairing that lingers on the palate.
The boldness of Pinotage allows it to hold its own against the robust flavours of smoked duck. The wine’s full body and firm structure stand up to the intensity of the meat, complementing its richness without overpowering it. This dynamic pairing showcases the unique and adventurous spirit of both Pinotage and smoked duck, creating a memorable and delicious encounter that leaves a lasting impression.