My mother–in-law has an engraved wooden plaque in her home that states: “We interrupt this marriage to bring you the hunting season.” After each hunting season we have a freezer full of everything from duck to venison and many opportunities for wine pairing. Consider these tips for easy matches.
Game birds such as duck, turkey, quail and pheasant generally have earthy flavors that are stronger than that of farm-raised fowl. Wildfowl generally goes best with red wines showcasing the same earthy, gamy characteristics, such as a Burgundy pinot noir. Its rich flavors of cherry and mushrooms will dovetail nicely with the wild game.
If Burgundy pinot noir is not in your budget, consider an Oregon pinot noir or a Spanish rioja.
- 2009 Bridlewood Estate Pinot Noir, California (about $19 retail)
- 2007 Louis Jadot Gevrey- Chambertin, France (about $65 retail)
Deer, elk, caribou and moose pair best with wines that can stand up to venison’s rich, heavy flavor. Pair with full-bodied wines able to compete with the intensity of the meat. A pinot noir from California or France’s Loire region, a syrah from California or France’s Rhone region, or even a Chilean or Argentine merlot or cabernet sauvignon will complement the meal.
- 2009 Carmen Merlot, Chile (about $12 retail)
- 2009 Presqu’ile Pinot Noir, California (about $48 retail)
FROM THE SEA
The flesh of wild salmon, halibut, grouper and tuna have much heavier weight and texture than, say, catfish. Consider Riesling, pinot gris, chardonnay and even Champagne when planning the meal. The pairing should try to contrast the oily richness and broad complex flavors of the fish with the acidity of the wine.
- 2010 Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Riesling, Washington (about $14 retail)
- 2010 Hugel Pinot Gris Classic, France (about $22 retail)