While I no longer eat foie gras myself (as explained here) for the French there is no other way to celebrate the réveillon, or New Year’s Eve.
Usually the foie gras is served cold, on its own or as a terrine and the lush, sweet lemon and honey flavours of the wine acts as a perfect counterpoint to the super-smooth texture and otherwise slightly cloying flavour of the foie gras.
Can you pull off the same trick with other dessert wines? To some extent yes. Other sweet Bordeaux such as Cadillac and Loupiac or sweet wines from around the Bordeaux region like Monbazillac are pretty good but they don’t have quite the intensity of Sauternes - or the impact when you put the bottle on the table. You can also partner foie gras with similar wines such as a late-harvest Semillon or Sauvignon.
The only downside is having to start a meal with a sweet wine which is not to everyone’s taste. An alternative would be to serve a mature reserve Chardonnay in which rich, buttery, caramelly notes have developed.