Along with steak, the prime meat of duck is another contender to the most popular meat pairing to wine. This guide will show you all about what wine goes with duck. With these ten best wine pairings, you can enjoy your duck meat in no time.
Why is Wine Served with Duck?
Like other meats, ducks are served with wines to elevate their flavor. Unlike steaks, ducks are more forgiving when it comes to wine pairing. Both red and white wine can be a prime candidate to be the partner the duck meat.
It all comes down to the cuisine and way of cooking the duck meat has undergone. For example, the best wine for a roasted duck differs from a duck in an orange sauce. It’s best to know the flavors of the duck meat before choosing the wine or vice versa.
Most of the time, wines are utilized with duck meat to lower the intensity of its fat. With the high amounts of acid, the wine can lessen the oil of the fat, leading to a better and purer meat flavor.
4 Best Red Wine Pairing to Duck Meat
Now that we know why duck meat is an excellent accompaniment to wine, let’s get into the best red wine pairings you can choose from.
Red wines are the absolute go-to when it comes to meat pairing. Well, it comes as no surprise for anybody familiar with wines. The higher acidity and tannins of the red wine can help elevate the flavor of the meat.
It breaks down the fats of the duck, which are concentrated higher than in other poultry meat. Red wine is not just excellent as an accompaniment; it can also be great as a glaze for many dishes.
1. Pinot Noir
When it comes to red wine and duck meat, Pinot Noir is on the top of the list. With its dry yet bold flavors and aroma. As a red wine, the high acidity of Pinot Noir can balance out the flavors of the duck meat.
Going with Pinot Noir is the best option if you are unfamiliar with wine. It’s a perfect combo for any roast or marinated saucy duck dish. Since it’s very flexible, it’s a safe option for people with less knowledge of wine tasting.
Any of the Cabernet varieties can be an excellent partner to duck meat. Like Pinot Noir, the high number of Cabernet’s tannins and acid balances the meat’s flavors.
A Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent combination of roasted or lightly seasoned meat. The wine provides a dry and mild flavor while having a high acidity to match the duck’s fat.
Syrah provides an excellent fruity flavor to a duck dish. It’s best with a lightly seasoned and crispy tight-skinned cooking method. Despite being a red wine, Syrah is sweeter and has lower acidity than other varieties.
It’s the perfect pairing for a confit duck as it can also go along with the vegetables and sauce of the dish. A Peking duck, duck pancakes, and smoked duck can also provide an excellent partner when paired with Syrah. The wine can elevate the flavor through its fruitier taste yet not overpower the meat.
Although Merlot offers lower acidity, its flavors make it an excellent partner with duck pancakes. Chinese-style duck dishes, especially those with a hoisin sauce, will pair excellently with the mellow acidity of the Merlot.
Due to its milder acidity and flavors, this red wine can also be with smoked duck meat. It perfectly balances an earthy taste to the already smokey meat flavor. Despite having lower acidity, Merlot is high in tannins. It can break down the fat from specific significant cuts of duck, such as breasts, to combat the oiliness.
3 Best White Wine with Duck
Pairing white wine with duck dishes can be quite different from red wine. White wines provide fruiter and sweeter flavors than red wines’ dry and bold tannins. This can lead to a refreshing fruity zest to accompany your meal.
It’s also incredible for smokey and roasted duck meat. The white wine’s zesty flavors balance out the duck’s earthy taste.
The primary choice for white wine is the Riesling. The wine provides an excellent blend of flavors, much like Pinot Noir, yet adds a bit of sweetness and fruitiness to the mix. Due to its milder taste and higher acidity, dry Rieslings are flexible to many duck meat dishes.
Riesling can be a great pairing to any of these duck dishes, from a duck roast to confit. It’s another wine you can easily pair with that would not give you any unpleasant flavors.
It’s best to get a dry variety of Riesling rather than the sweeter ones if you pair it up with marinated duck dishes such as orange duck. The sweet flavors can be overwhelming when paired with sweet glazes and marinade.
2. Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio) is the white wine variety of the well-known Pinot Noir. It has the same flavors, albeit with sweeter and fruitier notes than its red wine counterpart. Despite being a white wine, Pinot Gris is still high in acidity.
So, if you want a drink that has the counterbalance with fat yet still offers an excellent amount of flavor, Pinot Gris is an incredible option. An off-dry Pinot Gris will go along with tender, saucy, glazed, roasted duck. It will counter the fat with the acid, producing a purer and more intense flavor.
Chardonnay is among the most popular variety of white wine in the whole world. It’s fruity, sweet, and holds many flavors in every sip. White wine is one of the most popular pairings for poultry meat such as chicken and duck. Since it has a lower acidity, pairing it with fatty duck cuts is not recommended.
Having it with an acidic sauce such as duck a l’orange is a perfect pair with Chardonnay. The wine provides a zesty and citrussy twist to the duck meat.
Can Sparkling Wine be Paired with Ducks?
As stated earlier, most duck meats are served with red or white wine. However, sparkling wines can also be an incredible option. The sweet and citrussy flavors of the wine can complement smokey and roasted duck dishes.
Champagne has been a long accompaniment to many meat dishes, and the duck is another one of them. Despite having a much sweeter flavor, it’s best with plainer and earthy dishes such as roasted and smoked duck.
Stray away from the sweet glazes and too much flavor. Champagne is sweet, so pairing it with sweet dishes can overwhelm the palate.
2. Sparkling Rosé
Along with Champagne, sparkling Rosé is another wine you can drink with your duck dishes. Since Rosé has a milder flavor, it can be paired with more decadent sauces. Appetizers with a smaller amount of duck meat will also do great as this wine has a lower amount of acidity.
Benefits of Wine to Duck Dishes
Although wine is excellent for many reasons, it has a purpose when paired up with duck or every meat. It has benefits not just as an accompaniment but as an ingredient, such as:
Excellent Palate Cleanser
Wines are an excellent palate cleanser, and with duck meat, it’s not different. Try to drink a few sips of wine with every bite of your meal, and it’s a guaranteed way to restart your palate.
Dry wines work the best for this benefit. It offers a bold flavor and higher acidic content that can cleanse your taste buds with every mall sip.
Wine is especially beneficial for flavorful glazes. Of course, you would want to taste the decadent flavors of the duck glaze without the constraint of your palate.
Lessen Fat Content
When it comes to constraints on your taste buds, oiliness or fat is the most common reason. The lesser fat content is also one of the best benefits of wine regarding meat.
The wine can break down the fat content without damaging the taste and flavor of the meat. It also lets you enjoy the meat, delicious side dishes, and vegetables without mixing the flavors.
Great for Sauces and Glazes
In connection to the breaking down of fats, red wines are also excellent for cooking and not just for drinking. It’s not uncommon to have a wine-glazed steak or duck meat in a fine-dining restaurant.
If you want to add wine flavor to your duck meat, add a wine or sauce glaze. It also leads to a more tender and juicier meat cut, which is excellent for the duck’s breast part as it can get dry.
Wine and duck go well together as it offers an array of choices. Whatever you prefer, whether red or white, there is a wine perfect for you. With this list of the ten best wine pairings to duck, we hope we answered the question of what wine goes with duck.
George Moore, co-founder of Wine Flavor Guru, is a charismatic entrepreneur with a rich background in California’s wine industry. Alongside Sylvia, he transformed a Sonoma County vineyard into a source of premium wines. George’s expertise in sourcing exceptional grapes and his approachable style make wine appreciation both accessible and engaging.