Best Wine For Duck Dishes: Our 14 Favorite Pairings

best wine for duck

Quick Answer: Pinot Noir is the classic wine pairing for duck. And it's a good one, because the red fruit flavors of Pinot Noir make it a complementary pairing for duck, which is often served or cooked with a fruit based sauce. Also the acidity of Pinot Noir helps to cut through the fat from the duck. Another favorite wine pairing of mine is a Zinfandel, if you want to try something different.

There are so many different types of duck, each with their own unique flavor profile.  Therefore, there are endless possibilities for wine pairings.

In this article, we’ll explore 14 of our favorite wine and duck combinations. And we’ll also answer some FAQs about wine and duck pairings.

So whether you’re cooking up a batch of crispy fried duck or serving up a succulent roast or heading to a Chinese restaurant, read on for the best wine recommendations to complement your meal!

Table of Contents

What are the Different Types of Duck Dishes?

There are many different types of duck dishes, from the classic French dish of canard à l’orange to another classic Chinese dish of Peking duck.

Duck can be cooked in a variety of ways, including roasted, grilled, braised, pressed, or even fried. And it’s often served with a sauce or glaze that complements the rich flavor of the duck.

Some of the most popular sauces for duck include orange sauce, hoisin sauce, and plum sauce. These sauces can be made with fresh fruits or fruit juices, and they often have a slightly sweetened taste.

14 Best Wine Pairings for Duck Dishes

Duck Breast

duck breast

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley or Burgundy) or Zinfandel

This is a dish that’s often pan-seared or pan fried duck breast, served at a high-end restaurant. It’s a lean cut of meat with an earthy and gamey taste profile. And it complements a light-bodied Burgundy Pinot Noir, which has earthy, red fruit and mushroom tastes. 

Also the berry/red fruit sauce usually served on the side will go well with the red fruit components of the wine. And the wine’s high acidity will help to balance out the fatty skin, while the low to medium tannins will not overpower the delicate meat.

Duck à l'orange or Canard à l'orange

duck l'orange

Wine Pairing: Off-Dry Riesling or Alsace Pinot Gris or California Zinfandel

This is a classic French dish of roasted duck that’s been glazed with a bigarade sauce (an orange sauce).

The orange sauce gives the dish a slightly sweet taste, and it pairs best with a slightly sweet white wine like an off-dry Riesling. Also this varietal has fruity flavors with just enough acidity to balance out the dish.

If you’d like a red wine with this dish, I’d recommend a Zinfandel. For me, I like the jammy fruit-forwardness of a California Zinfandel along with its spice notes to add to the sweet orange sauce. Also its medium body will not overpower the duck.

Peking Duck

peking duck

Wine Pairing: Gewürztraminer or Syrah

This is a classic Chinese dish of roasted duck that’s often served with hoisin sauce and scallions. The duck is cooked until the skin is crisp, it has a rich flavor profile, and bit of sweetness from the hoisin sauce.

I like to pair Peking Duck with a Gewürztraminer. Because this varietal has floral and ginger notes that complement the Asian flavors of this duck dish.

For a red wine, I believe a Syrah with the rich black fruit, pepper, and spice scents would complement this dish’s many sweet and spicy elements. Also, it will be able to cut through the richness of the dish, as it is normally a wine with high tannins and acidity.

Roasted Duck

roasted duck

Wine Pairing: Chianti Classico or Rioja

This is a dish of duck that’s been slow roasted in the oven. The skin is usually crispy, and the meat is very tender. The roast duck taste profile is earthy with gamey notes.

So a well-balanced Chianti Classico from Tuscany will have medium to high acidity to cut through the fat of the duck as well as a medium body which will not be overpowering since this is a leaner cut of meat.

If you prefer a Spanish wine, then I would recommend a Rioja wine with duck. This Tempranillo-based wine has high acidity and medium tannins with flavors of dark fruits, dill, tobacco, and spice. And it will also complement the gamey taste of the duck.

Duck Confit

duck confit

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir or Malbec

One of my favorite duck dishes, duck confit is made by slow cooking the duck legs in its own rendered fat. Confit duck has a rich, silky profile with meaty and fatty flavors with gamey notes.

To pair with this dish, I would recommend a Pinot Noir. You need a wine with high acidity to help cut through the richness of this dish, and its light-bodiedness won’t overpower the duck.

And if you’re looking for another type of red wine pairing, then I would go with a Malbec from Argentina. This varietal has flavors of dark fruits and spice, which will complement the duck’s gamey taste. Additionally, its high tannin content will help to cut through fattiness and richness of the meat.

Duck Pate or Foie Gras

foie gras duck pate

Wine Pairing: Champagne and Tawny Port (Must Try)

Duck pate is a smooth, spreadable paste made from duck liver that has been ground down. It’s a very rich dish with a smooth, creamy texture and a strong gamey flavor.

Because these dishes are so rich, I recommend pairing them with Champagne. The sparkling wine will help to cleanse your palate between bites. And its acidity will also help to cut through the richness of the dish.

If you want a dessert wine pairing, then I would highly recommend a Tawny Port. The sweetness of the wine will balance out the strong gamey flavors of the pate. Plus, it has a velvety texture that will complement the smooth texture of the pate. It’s an amazing pairing!

Pressed Duck

Wine Pairing: Bordeaux

Pressed duck is a traditional French dish that’s made by partially roasting the duck. Then, the legs and breast are removed and the duck is pressed so that all of the juices and blood are released. And that juice is used to make a sauce and served on top of the sliced duck breast. The result is an extremely rich, flavorful, and gamey dish.

To best enjoy this dish, I recommend pairing it with a Bordeaux. A classic traditional dish with a classic traditional wine! The earthy qualities of the meat are complemented by the Bordeaux’s boldness, and the wine’s firm tannins will be mellowed by the dish’s richness. 

In fact, against this very rich and gamey meal, your Bordeaux wine may taste sweet and fruity!


What wine goes well with duck?

There are many different types of wines that can pair well with duck. It all depends on the preparation of the duck dish and your personal preferences. Some good options include Pinot Noir, Malbec, Bordeaux, Champagne, and Tawny Port.

Do you drink red or white wine with duck?

Again, to determine what wine with duck pairs well depends on the dish. If the duck is roasted or pressed, then I would recommend a red wine. But if the duck is confit or pate, then I would go with a white wine or Champagne.

What wine goes with duck breasts?

I would recommend a Pinot Noir or Malbec.

What drinks pair with duck?

Wine is always a good choice, but you could also try beer or cider.


Pairing wine with food can be tricky, but it’s important to find a balance between the two. The best way to do this is to experiment and find what you like best.

There are NO hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing wine with food, so don’t be afraid to try something new. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like the pairing. But who knows, you might just find your new favorite wine!

We hope you enjoyed this blog post on pairing wine with duck. If you liked this article, be sure to check our other food and wine pairings like:


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