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Foie Gras Wine Pairing

by Hannah Abaffy   |   January 15, 2015   |  

Gourmands and Epicures have debated for centuries the best way to enjoy Foie Gras, the correct foods, and more importantly, the correct wines with which to pair it. Libations with just the right characteristics to make this luxe ingredient sing.

As with the enjoyment of all foods, there is already a set of well-established rules. These are a great starting point from which to begin your quest for perfection, but, as we all know, taste is subjective, and experimentation is highly recommended. Until you’ve found your favorite, here’s our foolproof wine pairing cheat sheet.

Sauternes with Foie Gras

While goose or duck liver goes well with a varied range of wines, it is traditionally served with sweet white wines. The fruity notes and easy finish pair beautifully with the rich, savory taste of Foie.

While sweet wines make a delightful match, be sure they are not saccharine and one dimensional; Sauternes is the most popular option. This white from Bordeaux offers layers of honey and apricot that act as a perfect balance. If Sauternes is your pick, consider serving Foie Gras as a starter or finishing with it as a dessert or just before the dessert course.

In this same vein late harvest Reislings and Ice Wine are two more excellent choices that offer a sweeter, softer flavor companion.

Foie Gras and White Wine

A rarer and sometimes pleasantly surprising choice, dry white wine can be an interesting option. If looking for something along these lines, we recommend avoiding anything with too much acidity. Rich and full-bodied whites like Chardonnay and Viognier align themselves much better with the buttery attributes of fine Foie gras.

These two work well when your goose or duck liver has been seared or lightly broiled. The highlights of caramelization are best with the oaken aromatic taste of a dry white.

Foie Gras and Red Wine

More and more, red wine has become a favorite choice alongside Foie. A light-bodied Pinot Noir with soft tannins can be a delightful match, especially when the liver is prepared with a fruit-based accompaniment. Wines like Beaujolais made from the Gamay grape can also work; their light and fruity notes are the ideal counter to the heavy luxury of liver.

Champagne with Foie Gras

The effervescence and acidity of sparkling wines and champagne can cut through the richness of foie, providing a refreshing contrast. However, the choice of champagne varies according to the type of foie gras to be enjoyed.

Goose liver, with its subtler profile and more refined characteristics are best alongside light champagne that won't overwhelm the liver or compete on the palate. Inversely, when enjoying duck, a more powerful champagne is ideal.

Tips for Pairing Wine with Foie Gras

Ask yourself these questions before selecting a drink to pair with your foie gras.

  • What is going to be served next? Certain wines might work well alone but not with the rest of the meal.
  • Additionally, consider how the foie gras is prepared – whether it's seared, poached, or in a terrine – as this can influence the pairing choices.

Remember that personal preferences play a significant role in wine pairing, so feel free to experiment and find combinations that suit your taste.

Questions and Answers

Q:What wine is served with Foie Gras?
A:While there is a wide range of delicious options from which to choose, Sauternes is the most popular.
Q:What Goes Well with Foie Gras?
A:Wine and balsamic reductions, along with jams, chutneys, and confits, all served atop a crusty baguette or toasted brioche, make an incredible gourmet indulgence.
Q:Why Does Sauternes Pair with Foie Gras?
A:Sauternes pairs well due to its sweet, apricot-honey flavors that contrast the rich liver. The wine's acidity balances the dish while its texture and complexity harmonize, creating a luxurious and delightful pairing.
Q:Does Pinot Noir go with Foie Gras?
A:Yes, its light body, soft tannins, and berry notes provide a delicate balance, especially when the liver is prepared with fruity accompaniments.
Q:What do the French Serve with Foie Gras?
A:The French often serve accompaniments like sweet fruit compotes (such as fig or pear), toasted brioche, and wine reductions.

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