Mike is a freelance wine and drinks writer and journalist, wine judge and presenter based in Sydney. Mike is the Editor-At-Large and contributor for the wine commentary site The WIne Front, wine and drinks of delicious magazine, a columnist/feature writer for Gourmet Traveller Wine and co-director of Australia’s first sustainable and artisan wine and produce fair Rootstock Sydney.
Duck and pinot noir are a routine act.
It’s the kind of food and wine matching combination that you offer up to just about anybody to get them understanding how much synergy there is between fermented grapes and certain food stuffs.
Tim Watkins, sommelier of Sydney’s hip-diner, Automata, says “I've always found the sour black fruit note that pinot noir is known for works well with the rich game flavour of duck meat”.
“The acid structure from pinot noir also helps to cut through the fat element a dish like roasted duck breast can present.”
Handy words from a gun-wine slinger
The duck and pinot noir credentials are well worn, but what wine region to work with when gazing around the sixty-or-so in Australia?
My focus shifts to Mornington Peninsula. It’s as much about flavour profile as it is about diversity of styles.
Feel like bolstering your warmth and richness in dishes, then step into some of the complex, powerful styles associated with cricket-loving winemaker Lyndsay McCall and his Paringa Estate wines.
Want a wine that sits in a decanter and evolves over a duck degustation? Then best dial into a judiciously-matured pinot noir from fine-wine stalwarts Main Ridge. Their wines ripple with fine tannin, often are stoically firm in youth, but reveal over time the regal elegance so many pinot fanciers adore.
I’d also be looking at some of the younger generation from Mornington Peninsula too.
Peking duck rotates through most people’s Chinese restaurant repertoires, and most recently I liked Polperro’s bright, fragrant, delicate yet juicy pinot noir style to cut through the sweet meat and crunch of skin you get with duck-three ways.
Mornington Peninsula makes a good argument for quality meets interest meets fuller flavour meets breadth of producers. I like this general fit for my duck dining.
Like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton sung in Islands In The Stream, they rely on each other, ah ha.