For a moment, I felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode, or perhaps in the movie Groundhog Day. There was an unplanned recurring food theme during this past holiday: duck. That’s what I cooked on Christmas day and everywhere I went it was not turkey that people were serving but duck! I am not a big fan of the big bird so I was certainly not complaining. Duck can be prepared in many different ways and I had fun playing with wine pairings.
Duck rillettes always makes a great companion during the aperitif or even at brunch. There is nothing better when served with a fresh baguette. Highly addictive, the dish is rich. The duck is cooked in its own fat and it forms a sort of pâté. In the Loire Valley where it is a typical dish, locals drink Chenin Blanc with it. It works well because the grape is known for its high acidity and it cuts through the richness of the rillettes. Road 13 Vineyards from British Columbia crafts an excellent Chenin. A richer Riesling is another great match. Try with the 2013 Stoney Slope Riesling from Wild Goose Vineyards.
Magret de canard is what I prepared at Christmas. As the meat was cooking, the gamey aromas were filling up the room. My mouth was watering and my mind was set on an elegant Syrah with seductive notes of white pepper, violet and iodine. Specifically, I was thinking of the 2013 Cuvée Violette from Le Vieux Pin in BC.
Another favourite is Peking Duck. The meat is still rich, but there is a sweetness added to it, which inspires me to go with something completely different. My girlfriend cooked a recipe from Ricardo, which consisted of small crêpes filled with Peking Duck. It requires some patience and time to prepare but it is well worth it. I especially like the convivial aspect of it. A little bit like tacos, every guest garnishes their own crêpe. The combination of Hoisin sauce, honey and sesame oil calls for a fruity and earthy red. Acidity is still key. A light Gamay or an earthy Pinot Noir would work well. 13th Street Winery's 2013 Gamay Noir Sandstone Vineyard and the 2013 Tantalus J Pinot Noir are mouth watering picks. Santé!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.