Skip to Content

What Wine Goes With Duck? Pairing Guide

What Wine Goes With Duck? Pairing Guide

Duck is known for its fatty, rich flavor. However, you haven’t really tried duck until you’ve had it with a glass of wine.

But before you run to the liquor store and pick up any bottle of wine, use this guide to ensure you have the best pairing experience.

Tips for Pairing Duck With Wine

Even though duck is technically poultry, it mainly consists of dark meat. Duck is also denser than chicken. However, it is still more delicate than red meat.

Therefore, it needs a bolder wine that can stand up to the duck’s flavor. High-acidity wines are best for a duck as they can balance out the taste of the duck.

Nevertheless, if you want to pair white wine with duck, choose a full-bodied wine. 

In contrast, if you want to serve red wine with duck, choose light-bodied wines that are not overly tannic. These wines are fruity and pair perfectly with duck.

What Wine Pairs With Duck?

The cooking method also impacts the wine pairing. There are several ways to prepare duck. Each cooking method has a different wine pairing.

Duck Confit

In short, duck confit is a French technique that involves curing duck legs. It is usually cured overnight and then cooked in glorious duck fat.

Duck confit is extremely rich, so it requires a wine with high acidity.

Pinot Noir works well with duck confit. However, white Burgundy and sparkling wines such as Prosecco also pair well with duck confit.

These wines are acidic enough to cut through the fattiness without overpowering the flavor of the duck confit.

Roasted Duck

Roasting duck can deepen its flavor. Therefore, wines such as Barolo work perfectly for roasted duck. Barolo has a medium level of tannins and fruity and herbal flavors that elevate the taste of the duck.

Additionally, even though Barolo has quite a bit of tannins, it still has enough acidity to offset the duck’s rich flavor. 

Barolo also has an earthy undertone that accentuates the duck. However, Barolo’s earthiness shines through if the duck is served with mushrooms or roasted root vegetables like carrots, turnips, and potatoes.

Pan-fried Duck Breast

Pinot Noir is a popular pairing for pan-seared duck breast. The Pinot Noir has subtle black cherry notes that deepen the duck’s flavor.

When the pan-seared duck breast is cooked to medium rare, the duck breast will have a mildly earthy gamey flavor that pairs perfectly with the mushroom and notes of aged Pinot Noir. 

All in all, Pinot Noir’s high acidity cleans your palette without overpowering the duck’s flavor.

Curried Duck

Curried duck is a spicy dish, so you want to choose a wine that has a kick of its own. Gewurztraminer is a fragrant wine that has notes of ginger, cinnamon, and pepper.

The acidic and sweet flavor is ideal for spicy flavors since it will tone down the curried duck.

Peking Duck 

Peking duck is one of the most decadent duck dishes that you will ever taste.

To make Peking duck, duck is slow roasted and then carved at the table. The crispy skin is served alongside a rich sweet garlic dip, then the dark meat is stuffed between steamed pancakes and dipped in plum sauce or hoisin sauce and garnished with green onions.

A high-acidity Pinot Gris is necessary to balance the fatty, crispy skin. The Pinot Gris will also balance out the flavor of the sweet hoisin sauce and the sweet garlic dip.

The Pinot Gris will also cut through the sweet flavors and the fatty duck while cleansing the palette.

If you are not a fan of Pino Gris, Zinfandel or Shiraz are the best options for Peking duck.

These wines will have the same effect as Pinot Gris. However, they will add a fruity flavor that balances out the Peking duck’s flavor.

Duck Pate

Duck pate is a rich, creamy dish. It pairs perfectly with noble rot wines such as Sauternes.

I know what you are thinking; noble rot wines have a concentrated, sweet flavor. So why would you pair it with savory duck pate?

However, duck pate is different. It needs a bold wine that contrasts with the duck pate but still cuts through the fattiness. 

Sauternes wine has an acidity that cuts through the fatty, creamy pate. However, it is not so sweet that it overpowers the pate’s flavor.

Smoked Duck

Smoked duck pairs well with wines, including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot. Syrah always works for smoked foods, and smoked duck is no different.

Malbec has exquisite flavors of black cherry, plum, and blackberry. These fruity flavors provide a sweet contrast to the smoked duck.

Duck Cassoulet

Cassoulet or braised duck is a hearty, rich dish. The duck is slow-cooked with white beans and sausage.

Cassoulet has a bold, robust flavor that needs an equally bold flavor. Chardonnay, Malbec, or Nebbiolo wines are the best wines for cassoulet.

These wines have rich, fruity notes that lighten up the heart dish.

Christmas Duck

Christmas duck pairs well with several wines. For example, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Gamay wines pair perfectly with Christmas duck. The rich, fruity flavors accentuate the duck’s flavor.

However, white wines such as Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc also add a beautiful acidity that cuts through the fattiness of the meal. 

In contrast, sparkling wins such as Prosecco and Champagne. The bubbly will cleanse the palette from the rich duck.

Duck a L’Orange

Duck a l’Orange is a dish that involves marinating duck in oranges and orange liqueur. Duck a l’Orange pairs well with off-dry Reisling wine.

Off-dry Riesling has a touch of sugar, but it is also acidic, so it pairs well with the duck.

However, if you want to pair duck a l’Orange with red wine, choose a Gamay or Zinfindel wine. Both wines are red fruit flavors that contrast beautifully with the orange flavor of the duck.

Duck Bahn MI

Duck Bahm mi features fresh daikon radish, cilantro, ginger, and duck. These flavors pair best with Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc is a crisp white wine that complements the fresh vegetables and cuts through the fatty duck.

Final Thoughts

Duck is a decadent, rich dish, which means it is perfect with a glass of wine. So the next time you cook or order duck, try it with a glass of wine.