Which Wine With Duck Confit?

Wine With Duck Confit

Duck Confit is one of my favourite dishes. If it is on a restaurant menu, I normally have to have it, so I know it pretty well. Recently I had a conversation with a customer about pairing wine with duck confit. First of all, let me say, wine food pairing is not an exact science, there are no right or wrongs, and essentially wine and food matching is a personal decision, although one can try to point someone in the right direction.

So I was quite surprised when my customer suggested that Monbazillac is a good wine pairing with duck confit. I really can’t imagine this working. Surely a Monbazillac is going to be too sweet, with not enough acidity to cut through the fattiness of the duck. I shouldn’t knock it ‘til I’ve tried it. So that set me thinking, what are the best wines to drink with duck confit.


What is Duck Confit?

First of all, you need to know a bit about Duck Confit. Duck Confit is basically made by salt-curing a duck leg and slowly poaching it in duck or goose fat with a few basic seasonings. It is a traditional method of preserving duck from Gascony in South West France. The duck leg is usually rubbed with salt, herbs (thyme) and garlic, covered and refrigerated for up to 36 hours. Then it is poached in the fat for anywhere from 4 to 10 hours. At this stage the duck legs can be left to cool and stored covered in the fat, canned or in jars. Most commonly duck confit is served by frying or grilling the leg portions so the skin becomes lovely and crisp. So, you can imagine, you have a pretty rich, gamey, flavoursome and relatively fatty bit of meat.


So, Which Wine With Duck Confit?

Red or White? Most schools of thought seem to be heading towards a red wine rather than a white, but some white wine with duck confit will work too.

If you do want a white wine with duck confit, you need to be looking at the more aromatic wines with good acidity to cut through the fat of the duck confit, much in the same way that a good German Riesling or a Gewurztraminer can be great matches with Roast Duck or Peking Duck respectively. For duck confit I would personally go for a German Riesling, Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spätlese Leitz, Rheingaunothing too sweet, probably a good, fresh Spatlese (an Auslese will probably be too sweet). So I would perhaps suggest something like the Leitz Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spätlese from the Rhine – this great Spatlese is not too dry with superb lime / citrus characteristics, green apple but with a good mineral finish and the great acidity that you would need to stand up to the duck confit. A good dry Gewurztraminer might be a good alternative, in which case I would suggest a crisp, not too flowery one like the Trimbach Gewurztraminer from Alsace. A great wine, more refined and austere than some of the New World Gewurztraminers, although they would make a credible alternative.

Which brings me to the more traditional pairing of wine with duck confit. Red wine. A probably a Pinot Noir – this is what most of the wine books or discussions on wine forums reckon is the best match – although there are also a lot of recommendations for Bordeaux, or something a bit young and tannic to cut through the richness.

So, if one is going to go for a Pinot Noir, which one to go for? I think it needs to be fairly full Pinot, so something like a big, rich, well-structured Pommard from Burgundy would be good. Another great alternative would be a New World Pinot from New Zealand, California or perhaps Oregon.

I would suggest the Marimar Torres La Masia Pinot Noir from California which has classic delicious aromas of Russian River fruit – raspberry and pomegranate show in the nose with hints of roast coffee. The palate has supple, silky tannins and spicy notes of coriander from the elegant oak ageing. From Oregon, the La Crema Willamette Oregon Pinot Noir would be a great choice “…the nose is complex with hints of violets, star anise, marionberry (an Oregon native) and bay leaf, while the palate displays more brambly fruit, coffee bean, pomegranate and candied orange zest”.  All of these flavours and characteristics will make it a great wine with duck confit.

The other option is for a youngish, tannic red wine perhaps from the south of France. I think that a good Madiran or Cahors would be a good match. I would edge towards an Madiran. The Domaine Berthoumieu Madiran Cuvée Charles de Batz is powerful and has aromas of black and red fruits, a dense, full palate and firm, drying tannins. The power and http://distilleryimage6.instagram.com/75a5b59ee7c011e1adfe22000a1e8a47_7.jpgthe fruit, along with the tannins, make this a great match. Alternatively for a Bordeaux, would recommend something, young, fruit, quite masculine and Cabernet Sauvignon based – Chateau Lillian Ladouys 2008 from St Estephe is a great pairing. It is quite young, but very fruity and full but not heavy in an overbearing sense. There is plenty of depth and fruit and surprisingly supple tannins.

So, there’s some suggestions, any comment and feedback greatly appreciated. Do you have a favourite wine match? Let me know!

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Wine With Fish and Chips?

Wine with Fish and Chips

Food and Wine Matching

We all know that white wine and fish is a great combination but, to choose the perfect match for wine with fish and chips, you need to consider, not just the fish itself but also the batter and extras such as salt and vinegar (vinegar can kill the flavours of a wine). In the article below you will find some recommendations. This is all down to personal taste, however, and if you prefer a red wine with fish and chips, who is to say your are wrong. Food and wine matching really is a personal thing!

So, what wine should I match with fish and chips?

I think the best approach is to choose a fresh, zingy light white wine like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a good dollop of citrus which acts like a squeeze of lemon with the seafood. I would perhaps suggest Cloudy Bay or perhaps the St Helena Single Vineyard wine, both are crisp, and the St Helena is quite dry, yet fruity enough to deal with fish and chips. Or a really dry, lime-y riesling from Australia would work really well, as would a Gavi from Italy – try the Gavi di Gavi La Meirana from Broglia.  Alternatively you can try and a richer rounder white with a bit of spice like a Torrontes from Argentina or maybe a Chilean Chardonnay with good bit of oak in it, both of these should be rich enough to cope with the batter and chips. Perhaps try the Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay, a great oak Chardonnay that always puts my in mind of a good 1er Cru Burgundy, perhaps not surprising considering Lapostolle’s French connections (they are owned by the same French family that own Grand Marnier).

And don’t forget rosé wine with fish and chips. A Spanish or Portuguese rosé would be a little fuller bodied and better rounded than a white wine.

Of course, the luxurious option would be Champagne. Champagne is an absolutely excellent and classic wine that goes brilliantly with fish and chips, the dryness, acidity and the bubbles make it a perfect combination, cutting through any greasiness with ease. If you are on a budget try and look for a good dry Cava, like Mas Macia Cava Brut Nature (no extra sugar added) or a dry Prosecco.

The last option, that may not be to everyone’s taste, would be one of the world’s great food wines – Sherry. Bear with me! A dry, light, delicate and floral Fino or Manzanilla sherry would make a great match. In fact, when I visited Jerez, where sherry is made, Sherry was served with every course, from starter through to dessert. The cuisine from the Jerez region is predominantly fish-based and a nice, dry sherry was the perfect match. These natural tang of a dry Sherry will

If you don’t like fish and prefer chicken, sausages or burgers, you are in luck – most red wines will go with these, and pretty much any white wine goes with chicken.

Not Just wine with fish and chips!

At the end of the day it is all about personal taste. For me, there is nothing wrong with a good, strong cup of tea!!

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Wine and Lasagne – which wine to match with Lasagne

Wine and Lasagne – which wine to match with Lasagne

It is Friday lunchtime and there are a couple of red wines we had to try – a New Zealand Pinot Noir and a South African Cabernet Sauvignon, they turned out to be very, very different in style.

St Helena Pinot Noir 2004, Canterbury, New Zealand

St Helena has the oldest commercially planted Pinot Noir vines in Canterbury, they were planted in 1971 by Robin and Bernice Mundy who now employ ex-Corban’s winemaker Alan McCorkindale.

The first thing of note is the colour of this wine – it is bright red cherry but a very light, not intense, colour. The nose is typical NZ Pinot noir, there are hints of sour cherry, vegetal verging to farmyardy notes and, I thought, a slight ferrous whiff. This is definitely a lighter style of wine and is medium to light-bodied. The palate is soft, with plenty of red fruit , a touch of sweetness and reasonable length. It is very lightly oaked.

A good wine if someone is looking for a lighter style – I think this would be good served slightly chilled on a hot summer’s day or with lighter white meat dishes. 14/20ish £9.00 approx.

Utikyk Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Uitkyk (pronounced “ate cake”) is a 600 hectare estate in Stellenbosch that is owned by Distell. Estelle Lourens is now the winemaker at Uitkyk, but this wine was made the year before she arrived. The estate is planted with the main noble grape varieties and makes Cabernet, Cabernet / Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They also make a fabulous ten year old single estate brandy which is well worth seeking out – the best South African brandy I have tasted.

For a wine from 1999 the colour is surprisingly youthful being a fairly intense and dark, ruby colour with hardly any signs of ageing around the rim. The nose has the typical smokey South African “footprint” and is pretty oaky (it is matured for 18 months plus in a mixture of new and used French oak barrels). On the palate it is still firm and it quite upfront with good acidity. There are red berry notes and perhaps a hint of chocolate and again it is surprisingly youthful.

I think this big wine still needs a bit of time to come round like a good old-fashioned SA Cabernet. 14ish/20 £10-11?

We tried both these wines firstly with some homemade lasagne, the tomatoes in this always make it tricky for wine-matching and, although it softened up both wines nicely, it was the Uitkyk that worked best. Secondly we tried them with a bit of cheese, the Uitkyk Cabernet went rather well with a bit of Cheddar but the surprise match was the St Helena Pinot Noir and Somerset Brie which worked really well (maybe due to the touch of sweetness on the wine).

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