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Pairing Wine with Foie Gras

When you eat a luxury food like foie gras, it makes perfect sense (and it is a classic thing to do) to match it up with an excellent wine. Needless to say, however, you don’t want to just drink just any old decent wine with your foie gras—not if you’re looking for the ultimate gourmet food experience that you can have with your foie gras. The silky texture and lingering flavor of foie gras are the perfect counterpoint to the overtones of lemon, honey, and other flavors that wine provides. Let’s look at what are regarded as the best pairings of wine with foie gras.

Foie gras with Sauternes is considered to be the classic pairing. You probably can’t go wrong with this pair no matter how the foie gras has been prepared. Because Sauternes is sweet,  it’s also true that this pairing is at its absolute best when you’re eating a foie gras dish that has been so prepared that it’s highly acidic, such as if you’re having foie gras with apples, grapes, or some other fruit. Then again, many gourmet chefs, sommeliers, and lovers of luxury food believe that there are many different types of sweet wine that pair equally well with foie gras. Your other fine choices for sweet wines include Jurançon, Tokaji, Monbazillac, Gewurztraminer, or a lightly chilled Banyuls.  A Cadillac or a Loupica are also good sweet wine choices, but these don’t have the intensity of the Sauternes.  Monbazillac, Loupiac, Barsac and Cadillac are all right next to the Sauternes region in France, and the wines coming from these areas can be excellent.  Some people prefer serving sweet wines with foie gras that is being served cold–torchon style, terrine, salt-cured, or other cold preparations.

Foie Gras with Chardonnay is considered to be the great alternative to a pairing with Sauternes. Chardonnay should be seriously considered if you are serving pan seared foie gras, or a foie gras dish that is prepared and served with a rich non-acidic sauce. Other excellent rich foie gras dish pairings include quality French wines such as Savigny-les-Beaune, Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle-Musigny, Côte-Rotie, or possibly a high quality Syrah or pinot noir, a mature red Bordeaux, or a Meritage blend. What you want to avoid are young red wines with richly prepared foie gras, because their heavy tannins will interfere with the flavor of the foie gras.

If all else fails, there’s one wine that just goes well with any preparation of foie gras–Champagne. Nothing beats the festive nature of a fine Champagne, and this pairing might be the ultimate in food decadence.

Ultimately there are an almost endless number of possible wine pairings for foie gras.  First, foie gras can be prepared in so many different ways; with different meats, seafood, or vegetables; with almost any type of fruit; with sauces or seasonings that range from sweet, spicy, salty, rich, or acidic; served cold or warm, and served as a first course or a main dish.  All these things should be considered, but perhaps the most important factor is simply your own taste preferences in wine.

We would love to hear the types of wine you enjoy pairing with foie gras.  What are your favorites?  Please describe your favorite foie gras preparation and the wine you like to pair with it.

1 comment to Pairing Wine with Foie Gras

  • Gabriel C Lucich

    I always enjoy my Foie simply. Soaked in cream with a little bourbon added, then seared with fresh peaches and sel gris. Maybe a few Amaranth greens to accompany. Match that with a sparkling Rose’ and you’re in heaven.

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