Wines to pair with Christmas duck and goose:
- Pinot Noir
- Mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- Fuller styles of Beaujolais, such as Morgon Cru
- Rosé Champagne
- Chardonnay with some oak ageing
- White Bordeaux
- Chenin Blanc
- Off-dry Riesling
A great quality roast Christmas duck or goose is going to give you a richer, fattier meat on the festive dinner table compared to turkey.
Goose is actually the traditional English bird for Christmas dinner, while duck can offer heaps of flavour without overwhelming a smaller gathering around the table.
Both give you plenty of scope to experiment when it comes to wines. But remember that a Christmas dinner spread is often packed full of flavours, so good acidity is to be cherished and bold tannins might overpower the meal.
Red wines with duck and goose
Most medium-bodied reds with a good concentration of red fruits and relatively high acidity should work well here.
This is heartland Pinot Noir territory. We can’t list them all here, but you’ll find good value examples from lesser known parts of Burgundy, such as Rully, as well as Mornington Peninsula in Australia, Central Otago in New Zealand plus Oregon in the US and higher, cooler vineyards in California – such as those in Anderson Valley or Santa Rita Hills.
South of Burgundy, you could also try bolder styles of Beaujolais from some some of the 10 cru areas, such as Morgon, for example.
Head across to Piedmont for other styles to consider, such as Barbera d’Asti, with its bright red fruit and high acidity. For a bit more weight, consider Nebbiolo – either with a bit of bottle age in its Barolo form or a fresher style of Langhe Nebbiolo.
That wild cherry fruit associated with Sangiovese could be a winner with the duck, while Matthieu Longuère MS also recommended a young Mencia from Spain’s Galicia region.
If you go decide to go for a rosé, pick something with bolder, juicy fruit flavours. The delicacy of a Provence rosé could be overpowered here.
Some fuller-bodied rosé Champagnes can work brilliantly, offering concentrated red fruit and creamy complexity while bringing lift to the dish. And who’s going to turn down vintage rosé Champagne at lunchtime?
It sounds a little clichéd, but a white wine with high acidity will help the wine to cut through the fattiness of the meat.
That said, you also need a white wine with a bit of complexity to stand up the richer flavour of either the duck or the goose, versus turkey. This could include a bit of oak or lees ageing, as long as it’s well integrated with the fruit.
This could be a white Burgundy with some bottle age or a Chardonnay from California or Australia with a relatively restrained amount of oak. Alternatively, embrace the Chenin Blanc renaissance.
For something a bit difference, an off-dry style of Riesling has the slight sweetness balanced by a backbone of acidity that could match the richness of the duck.
Christmas duck & goose wine picks: