It was around this time last year that we might have been waxing lyrical about duck and pinot being as well-matched as Brad and Angelina.
Brangelina’s compatibility has since been disproved, but the duck and pinot combination is still as strong as ever. Which is just as well, because May not only marks the beginning of duck season, but also the start of the fourth annual Cloudy Bay Pinot and Duck Tasting Trail in New Zealand.
As part of the Trail, some of the top chefs in the country will prepare delicious signature duck dishes matched to Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2014 or Cloudy Bay Te Wahi Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014. These will be available at selected restaurants throughout New Zealand at a set price between 1-31 May.
The beauty of the duck and pinot partnership? “The well balanced and delicate palate of the pinot pairs perfectly with a game as rich as duck,” says Jim White, Cloudy Bay’s Head Viticulturalist. “The complex layers of each Pinot Noir vintage offers a bright acidity, bold enough to cut through the meat’s earthy flavour.”
Okay, you had us at “pinot” Jim.
This year, the Trail is bigger than ever with 30 chefs participating nationwide. We were lucky enough to be given a preview of three of the duck dishes late last week from the chefs at Auckland-based Augustus Bistro, Sails Restaurant and Euro, and can safely vouch for each and every dish. However, if the idea of the epitome of winter comfort food paired with a great glass of pinot is one that appeals, then be sure to hit up Augustus Bistro for their duck pie (official name: duck and shiitake pithiviers with pea purée and red wine jus) – quite possibly the most luxurious and palate-provoking pie you will ever encounter.
Dukkah crusted duck breast, confit duck leg cigar, house made hoisin & duck liver parfait, by Gareth Stewart from Euro.
Gameford Lodge duck leg and breast, pink peppercorn crust, beets, chioggia, with wild leaves, cherry, Cloudy Bay Pinot gastrique, sauce salmis & kumara, by Jeff Foster from Sails Restaurant.
Duck and shiitake pithiviers with pea purée and red wine jus, with a side salad of butter lettuce, shallot and chervil, by Des Harris from Augustus Bistro.
For the full list of participating restaurants and their bespoke duck and pinot pairings head to cloudybaypinotandduck.co.nz. You can book directly with your chosen restaurant.
Oyster & Chop
The Pullman Hotel
Hotel de Brett
True Food & Yoga
White & Wong
Botswana Butchery Auckland
King of Snake
Bloody Mary’s Baretta
The Grille by Eichardts
The Hilton Lake Taupo