Match of the week | Challans Duck and Château le Puy

Match of the week

Challans Duck and Château le Puy

It’s easy to be so cocky about a wine pairing that you cease to leave your mind open to other possibilities. So duck has always led me to burgundy (or other pinot noir) rather than Bordeaux. But last week’s spectacular meal with Château Le Puy at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught convinced me that mature Bordeaux can be just as delicious an option.

It wasn’t just any old duck mind you but a Challans duck, much prized in France for its tenderness and depth of flavour. It was served with endive and, I subsequently discovered from the menu, rhubarb though that wasn’t really detectable in the dish.

9 great wine matches for duck

And the deep, sensuously velvety wine, the 2009 vintage of the Chateaux single vineyard Barthélemy for which they are trying to get a separate appellation, would have shone with practically anything to be honest. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically and the wine made with without sulphites, fining or filtration. (I’d love to give it blind to anyone who dismisses all natural wine as faulty or ‘cidery')

There were some other fascinating wines and pairings during the meal too - their extraordinarily deep-coloured rosé 'Rose Marie' with a dish of lobster with morels and vin jaune, a chocolate and coffee dessert with a wine, Detour des Isles, which is treated like a madeira and travels round the world before being bottled and the discovery that the 2015 vintage of their white Bordeaux Marie Cecile which is 100% semillon was the perfect match for our cheeseboard.

The experience had a particular poignancy for me in that my late husband introduced me to Le Puy and we shared the fabled 2003 at one of our favourite restaurants La cour de Rémi which was always our final stop in France at the end of the summer holidays. He would have loved this extraordinary dinner.

I ate at Helene Darroze as a guest of Chateau le Puy. The restaurant has a vertical of of their cuvée Emilien on the wine list.

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Comments: 3 (Add)

Nick Brett on April 8 2019 at 19:49

That’s helpful/interesting, thank you. I do enjoy playing around in the (excellent!) site, but with unsophisticated tastes I find it interesting understanding how balanced tastes develop.

Fiona Beckett on April 8 2019 at 18:23

Not at all! I started out writing about food then got into wine so I've always looked at wine as an accompaniment to food. The matches of the week are usual more unusual pairings I've come across but you should hopefully find wine suggestions for more mainstream ingredients and dishes through the search feature on the site. Let me know if there's anything you want to know you can't find the answer to!

Nick Brett on April 8 2019 at 18:10

Chicken and egg question.....
Did you enjoy a variety of foods before you got into wine, or did you get into wine and then try new types of food to enhance the art of pairing them?
Seems to me that experienced wine experts eat many dishes I would not normally touch, so wondered what came first? Apologies if it’s a stupid question!

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