Duck, goose and game birds

March 24, 2023Pairing food

What wines pair well with duck, goose and game birds?

Roast duck is traditionally paired with a Pinot Noir wine, particularly a Burgundy, due to its red berry and cherry fruit flavors that complement many traditional sauces. Pinot Noir also has crisp acidity that helps cut through the fat of the duck. If the duck is being served with a sweeter sauce, it is best to choose a wine that is less sweet to avoid overpowering the dish. For Asian-influenced recipes, a light and fruity Pinot Noir or Merlot can be a good choice. Confit of duck is a more robust dish that pairs well with a tannic, full-bodied wine like Madiran or a lighter wine like juicy Merlots. Cold duck dishes, such as rillettes, can be paired with a cru Beaujolais. Turkey, which is considered a game bird in the US, can be paired with wines suitable for poultry. Goose is a stronger-flavored bird with a higher fat content that pairs well with crisp reds or whites, depending on the other elements of the dish. Quail is a delicate meat that pairs well with creamy, nutty Chardonnays or ripe, rounded Greco di Tufo. Doves and pigeons are very lean and often paired with a dry Riesling or Albariño or a light rosé. Pheasant is a more forgiving bird that pairs well with a gutsy, earthy Pinot Noir or a peppery Rhône Syrah. Some top choices for pairing with game birds include Volnay from the Côte de Beaune in France, Pinot Noir from Dundee Hills in the USA, and Nebbiolo di Langhe from Piedmont, Italy.