Match of the week | Duck confit and Madiran

Match of the week

Duck confit and Madiran

The two days I spent in the Gers region of the south-west of France last week (members can see a full report here) reminded me just what a strong terroir-based match the local Tannat-based wines are with duck confit. I tried it both with a Madiran and a humbler Côtes de St-Mont which uses the same grape varieties.

Duck confit, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is made from duck legs which have been salted and then cooked in duck fat. It’s consequently, as you’d expect, both salty and fatty which sounds unappetising but the meat develops a wonderfully rich flavour and fall-apart-texture that makes it quite a delicacy.

The effect of the saltiness and fattiness also has the effect of subduing the tannins in the appropriately named Tannat and making the wines taste softer and more supple. I don’t know if it would be as good a match with Uruguayan Tannat which tends to be riper and more alcoholic. It’s the refreshing astringency of these south-west French wines that works so well - as you’d expect them to.

Madiran also pairs well with the great French bean dish cassoulet which contains duck or goose confit.

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