Fatty, Extra Juicy, and Flavor Rich: Duck Is The New Chicken
Duck is fantastic meat, albeit a bit mysterious and strange for most. In fact, except in France and China, nearly nowhere else do people eat duck on a frequent, day-to-day basis. And, unfortunately, this is a shame since duck is super tasty, tender, and juicy, particularly duck breasts.
You can cook duck meat in many ways since there are countless recipes, from roast duck with honey-balsamic glaze to Confit duck (through a centuries-old preservation process where the duck meat must stay in salt before being cooked for hours in its own fat) to the famous Beijing duck to Foie Gras (seasoned, slow-cooked duck liver). Considering how many different duck dishes exist, the confusion when it comes to duck wine pairing skyrockets. Nevertheless, there are a few staple wine and grape varieties you can confidently pair with your duck.
What Wines Pair Well With Duck?
When trying to pair wine with duck, there are some ground rules you should follow. For example:
- Pair slow-cooked, mild-flavored, or spicy duck with vibrant whites and easy-going acidic reds, like Beaujolais and Merlot.
- Pair fatty, strongly flavored duck with high tannin reds, such as a Chianti, Monastrell, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Pair roast and moderate flavored duck with reds of equal intensity and medium tannins
- Pair Foie Gras with sweet, botrytized, or late harvest whites.
For the safest wine pairing, opt for aromatic and peachy Gewürztraminer, semi-dry Riesling, fruity Merlot, tannic Chianti, or Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. In fact, the latter is considered a classic companion to duck-based dishes since it offers controlled intensity and high acidity, which balances the duck’s fattiness. Also keep in mind that as duck cooks beautifully with fruit then going with a fruit-forward wine seems like a no-brainer.
So, without further ado, here are some great wines to accompany your savory and tender duck meat:
Best White Wines With Duck
Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer
- Winery — Villa Wolf
- Country/Region — Germany, Pfalz
- Type — German Gewürztraminer
- Aroma — Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Vanilla Spice, Ginger, Soil, Meyer Lemon
- Grapes — Gewürztraminer
- Taste — Rose, Grapefruit, Lime, Apricot, Pepper, Cinnamon Spice, Red Pepper
- Alcohol Content — 12%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Duck, Halibut, Salmon, Red Snapper, Fried Chicken, Asian, Tarte Flambée, Gruyère
Clean and very fruity, Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer is light with a pronounced aromatic charm. Juicy in texture and delicate flavors of roses, citrus, and stone fruit, this wine is refreshing and pleasant to drink, which makes it the best white wine with Duck.
Highly aromatic, it carries aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossom alongside nuances of vanilla, ginger, and soil. Fragrances of Meyer lemon, peach, and guava also exist on the bouquet, contributing depth. On the palate, Villa Wolf Pfalz Gewürztraminer shows a rounded and juicy texture, as well as tastes of rose, grapefruit, lime, and apricot. Notes of pepper, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes, emerge as the wine hits the mid-palate, concluding in a long and gratifying finish.
In 1996, renowned Riesling winemaker Ernst Loosen acquired the Villa Wolf Estate in Wachenheim’s Pfalz village to produce high-end dry Rieslings from limestone, sandstone, and basalt soils. Except for Riesling, the winery also focuses on Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir production, with the resulting wines being pure, vibrant, and very food-friendly.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Semi Dry
- Winery — Dr. Konstantin Frank
- Country/Region — United States, New York, Finger Lakes
- Type — Finger Lakes Riesling
- Aroma — Lemon, Lime, Peach, Honey, Tropical Fruit, Floral Notes
- Grapes — Riesling
- Taste — Apples, Pear, Peaches, Chalk, Honey, Lemon Curd
- Alcohol Content — 11.5%
- Sugar — Semi-Dry
- Pairing — Duck, Fiery Thai Curry, Spicy Latin Cuisine, Lamb Tandoori
Starting delicately but then becoming tropically ripe, Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling Semi Dry is packed with vibrant aromas and flavors of stone fruit, pineapple, and citrus. Gentle notes of acacia and orange blossom join the bright acidity to balance the overwhelming sweetness.
Vibrant and rich fragrances of peach, apricot, and nectarine blend with overtones of orchard fruit, flint, petrol, mushroom, and campfire to form the elegant but bold bouquet. At the same time, aromas of orange blossom and acacia find sharper touches of thyme and lime peel as they drive into the medium-bodied palate. In the mouth, the wine shows flavors of juicy pineapple, lemon, and guava. These meet the zesty acidity, which, in turn, offsets the ripeness. The finish is moderate and sweet, as expected from a classic semi-dry Riesling.
Best Red Wines With Duck
Twenty Rows Pinot Noir
- Winery — Twenty Rows
- Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County
- Type — Californian Pinot Noir
- Aroma — Cherry, Raspberry, Forest Floor, Blackberry, Pepper, Forest Floor, Prune
- Grapes — Pinot Noir
- Taste — Redcurrant, Blueberry, Aniseed, Plum, Smoke, Graphite, Vanilla Spice
- Alcohol Content — 13.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Duck Confit, Venison, Pheasant, Tomahawk Steak, Brie
Twenty Rows Pinot Noir is a complex and aromatic red wine with smooth, rounded tannins. Everyone’s going to enjoy sipping this one. Medium-bodied, Twenty Rows Pinot Noir has vibrant aromas of raspberry, cherry, and blackberry, accompanied by hints of pepper, forest floor, and prune, to name a few.
The palate is smooth and a bit creamy, with fine tannins. Redcurrant and blueberry flavors join touches of plum, smoke, anise, and graphite, forming the delightful palate. The finish is long and gratifying, filled with vanilla bean, tobacco, and strawberry notes. The acidity is refreshing, while, at the same time, it balances the oakiness. Possibly the best red wine with duck.
Expressive and High-Quality Wines
Produced by Brian Russ in honor of the first vineyard he planted as a Napa Valley farmer, Twenty Rows wines are meticulously crafted. Using only selected grapes and focusing on expressing the terroir, he has successfully achieved his goal. When founding Twenty Rows, Brian Russ wanted a winery that was a family-owned expression of traditional winemaking.
To do this, he expanded his passion from grape farming to wine-making in 2003, when the first vintage of Twenty Rows was commercially released. Since that time, the winery has offered great wines of balance, expression, and of high-quality.
- Winery — Meerlust
- Country/Region — South Africa, Western Cape, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
- Type — South African Merlot
- Aroma — Mulberry, Blackberry, Plum, Coffee, Cocoa, Tobacco, Dried Earth
- Grapes — Merlot
- Taste — Cherry, Bramble, Raspberry, Wet Stones, Grapefruit, Violet, Mint
- Alcohol Content — 12.6%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Duck, Filet Mignon, Leg Of Lamb, Roast Chicken, Charcuterie, Cheddar
Deep ruby with purple highlights. The wine opens with powerful dark fruit on the bouquet, plums, and blackberries, as well as hints of cocoa. Full-bodied, on the palate, it shows generous red and black fruit and vibrant acidity. Silky tannins drive into a lengthy finish.
Pronounced aromas of mulberry, blackberry, plum, and coffee dominate this Merlot’s nose, alongside subtle hints of cocoa, tobacco, and dried earth. In the mouth, there is a generous core of opulence, typical of this variety. Flavors of cherry, brambles, raspberry, and tomato leaf combine to form the delicious palate. Dusty, yet refreshing, the smooth tannins are well-integrated. The finish is long with some minerality.
An Esteemed South African Winery
Meerlust is a renowned South African wine estate situated where Free Burgher Henning Huising once lived. After he died in 1713, the farm passed through many hands until it came to Johannes Albertus Myburgh in 1756. Since then, it has remained with the Myburgh family.
Except for producing high-end wine, the farm is known for its dam that enables irrigation in dry years. The name Meerlust is German and translates to sea pleasures because cooling breezes off False Bay encourage steadier grape ripening. The resulting wines are highly aromatic and very flavorful.
Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva
- Winery — Carpineto
- Country/Region — Italy, Toscana, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
- Type — Italian Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano
- Aroma — Violet, Blackberry, Cherry, Mint, Thyme, Tobacco, Plum, Blackcurrant, Fig
- Grapes — Sangiovese
- Taste — Raspberry, Prune, Eucalyptus, Pine, Vanilla Spice, Charred Wood, Leather, Barnyard
- Alcohol Content — 13.5%
- Sugar — Dry
- Pairing — Duck, Rib-eye, Wild Boar, Mushroom Dishes, Napolitana, Ravioli Alla Marinara
Bright ruby in color with a garnet rim, the wine has a captivating appearance. Ethereal and elegant nose, packed with hints of charred wood, violets, and back fruit. Dry on the palate, with velvety tannins and smooth texture, Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva shows pronounced cassis notes and a lengthy finish.
Highly fruity and savory, this wine displays fragrances of cherry, herbs, charred wood, and violets. However, the aromatic dance is not over, as nuances of sweet tobacco follow and combine with plum, blackcurrant, and stewed fig notes to complete the bouquet. Medium-bodied and structured in the mouth, flavors of raspberry, cherry, prune, and eucalyptus dominate. On top of this, tastes of pine, oak spice, and slight yeast mingle with bright acidity and silky tannins. The long earthy-driven finish is pleasant and complex.
High-end Chianti Production
Carpineto was founded in 1967 by Giovanni Carlo Sacchet and Antonio Mario Zaccheo to produce high-end Chianti Classico. In fact, from the very start, Carpineto wanted to focus on quality, even if in the 1960s, the Chianti region was more famous for producing wines in bulk in the known straw-wrapped bottles. In fact, the Chianti Classico DOC became a DOCG (prestigious recognition) only in the 1980s.
Since then, Carpineto has expanded beyond Chianti to nearby Tuscan regions, too, like Montalcino, Maremma, and Montepulciano (like our bottling). Finally, Carpineto crafts many single-Sangiovese-and-vineyard Chianti and blends at the IGT level, Super Tuscans included. Carpineto is renowned globally as it is exported to over 70 countries.
Finding the best wine to pair a duck dish with is challenging even for the most passionate wine connoisseurs. Yet, we, wine pros, have managed to compile the above wine list to help you complement your juicy duck meat. Sure, wine and duck pairings are varied but do not let this intimidate you. Instead, consider it a positive, meaning you can finally choose duck as your main course and not have to worry about wine, considering how many wine options you have!