With its rich and sweet meat, combined with the fatty but crispy skin, Duck is a decadent dish like no other. Duck can also be served in a variety of ways, all which require different dance partners when considering pairings. In general, earthy and fruity reds, such as Pinot Noir, Amarone, Cahors, or Aglianico, will match up to nearly every duck dish.
Pinot Noir & Roasted Duck Pairing
Duck is a rich and sweeter meat that is amplified when paired with the cherry, field strawberry and smoky notes of a Pinot Noir. The acidity in a Pinot Noir cuts through the fattiness of the duck skin with ease, while the mushroom notes found in the body of Pinot Noir complement the roasted flavours of the tender duck meat.
Amarone & Roasted Duck with a Reduction Sauce
Amarone is produced in a style where the grapes are reduced by being dried out, it pairs amazing with roast duck, drizzled with a reduction sauce containing the Amarone. The food would mirror the wine, leaving your mouth in a heavenly state.
Here you’ll want a more traditional style of Amarone, which consists of dried fruit flavours and a medium body. Modern styles of Amarone are nice with their lush and syrupy fruit flavours, however, the traditional style, with its earthy notes and have flavours of dried cherry and plum that are better suited to the rich flavours of roast duck.
Cahors & Duck Confit
Duck Confit is a method of preserving duck where the meat is first cured and then slow-cooked in its own fat for hours. When eaten, this gives you a nice contrast of crispy skin to salty duck meat that melts in your mouth.
As such, Duck Confit requires a gusty wine with strong enough flavours to withstand the rich flavours and saltiness of the dish. Cahors is a Malbec driven red with a touch of Merlot and Tanat with notes of blackberry, fruit leather, tobacco, earth, and hints of chocolate and licorice. Cahors, while not as aggressive as a Cabernet Sauvignon, has enough tannin to stand up to Duck Confit, as well as complement the rich flavours with its blackberry, earth and licorice notes.
Aglianico & Confit Duck
We’re picking a harder to find wine here, but it will make for a superb pairing. A traditional Aglianico is a Southern Italy full-bodied red wine produced in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. When aged, Aglianico has a rustic leather, earth, smoked meat, dried fig and a truffle-like earthiness that makes it a star with Duck Confit.
The strong flavours of Aglianico easily hold up to the rich flavours and saltiness of Duck Confit. The dense tannin in this red wine cut through the fattiness found in the duck skin while Aglianico’s high acidity is refreshing against the saltiness of Duck Confit.
Modern Aglianico will still pair well with Duck Confit but expect less rustic flavours and more chocolatey and riper fruit flavours.
Pinot Gris and Duck à l’orange
Duck à l’orange features pot roasted duck served with a orange juice and stock based sauce. This leaves you with an intense meat flavour blended with a sweet and sour sauce that requires a white wine with enough acidity and body to handle both the sauce and the richness of the meat.
A Pinot Gris from Alsace, is a ripe and rich white wine with spiced pear flavours that perfectly match the sweet & sour sauce. With its zesty acidity, Pinot Gris has no issues with cutting through the rich flavours of the roasted Duck as well.
Beaujolais and Duck à l’orange
Red wine will match up well to Duck à l’orange, but you need one that is low in tannin, like a Beaujolais. as tannin will clash with the Sweet and Sour component of this dish. The fruity nature of Beaujolais doesn’t necessarily complement the orange flavours of Duck à l’orange, but it does blend well with the fruity nature of the sweet and sour sauce.