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Duck for dinner and a little Pinot talk

Pinot Noir and duck

Question from Heath: I’m trying to impress someone special and am cooking duck for dinner but I have no idea what wine to have with it? Help!

In a nut shell – I don’t know what you plan to do with the duck so the safest bet here would be Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir and duck make the perfect pair! Want to know why? Keep reading! Your special someone is in for a treat!

In a clam shell – Tannin, I’m about to talk about tannin. Keep reading, I’ll make it simple! Tannin is that chalky, drying feeling in your mouth after a gulp of red wine. You know the one? When you feel like you’ve just sucked on a wet tea bag? If you’re still confused, do it and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Tannins are found in grape skins and are in higher levels in thick-skinned grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz/Syrah). Also, the longer the skin stays in contact with the wine, during the making of it, the higher the levels of tannin.

Now back to Pinot Noir – it’s a black grape with thin skins so produces low to medium tannins, which is exactly what you want with a delicate duck dish (so not to overpower the duck).

Pinot Noir also has relatively high levels of acid, which works well with fatty meats. Why? Acidic wines make you drool, creating saliva in your mouth. Drinking an acidic wine with oily food will cut through the richness of the food and cleanse your taste buds.

Pinot Noir has delicate flavours and if you close your eyes and concentrate hard enough you’ll be able to taste strawberries, raspberries and cherries with smells of wet-leaves and meat. Too far? Sorry! But seriously, those flavours and smells are common in Pinot Noir, I didn’t just make it up. Now that you know what to look out for, next time you drink a glass of Pinot remember strawberries and wet-leaves and I bet you’ll recognise it!

Sooooooo Pinot Noir has delicate fruit flavours which work perfectly with the subtle flavours of duck.

I know what you’re thinking, you’ve narrowed it down to Pinot Noir. Not very helpful! There are dozens of Pinots at my bottlo! My advice would be to stick to Pinots from cool climates. Pinot Noir is a very fussy grape and only likes cool climates. If it gets too hot it’ll chuck a tanty and lose its delicate fruit flavours becoming jammy and meh! So stick to the cool climates.

You’ll find oodles of Pinots from Australia but most of Australia is too hot for our princess Pinot. I’d stick to an Aussie Pinot from Tasmania, Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula. Even better would be a New Zealand Pinot from Martinborough, Central Otago or Marlborough.

If you want to get all fancy pants and lash out get a Bourgogne from Burgundy (wine for dummies – Bourgogne is French for Burgundy). But if you’re getting a French wine remember that the bottle won’t say Pinot Noir anywhere on it (that’s a blog post for another time). It’ll just say Bourgogne. Or go with a bottle from either of these four villages in Burgundy – Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Beaune or Pommard. Again, the bottle won’t have Pinot Noir on it, you’ll have to look out for the name of the village. Also remember that wines from France are taxed through the roof so a lot of what you’ll be paying for will be an import tax.

Now, on Saturday night I had a bloomin’ delicious and affordable bottle of Pinot (not with duck mind you but it would have been even better if my special someone had have whipped up a little duck to go with). I got it from Dan’s, it was from Central Otago in New Zealand from Nanny Goat Vineyard and it was a 2012. It was $25 – so good!!!!

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