Duck Confit from SW France … Perfectly Paired with an Old Vine Madiran

Pairing:  Duck Confit with Traditional Accompaniments of Red Cabbage and French Green Lentils, Paired with a 2012 Chateau Peyros Madiran Vieilles Vignes (from Southwest France)

Food: Confit is a centuries-old method of curing and preserving meat done almost exclusively in France. In fact, confit is the French word for preserve. The method is most often done with duck, although we have also enjoyed confit of turkey, rabbit, chicken, and pork. But duck confit is the gold standard and rendered duck fat is used to preserve any of the other meats. We use the recipe in Anne Willan’s French Regional Cooking as the basis for our duck confit. Cut the duck into serving pieces, including the back and the wings. Put all the pieces into a non-reactive bowl and rub salt into each piece thoroughly on all sides, then sprinkle all the pieces with black pepper and thyme. Cover and chill for 10 to 12 hours. Wipe off the seasoning. Set the oven at 300 degrees (F). Place the duck pieces in a flameproof skillet (e.g., cast iron) and cook the meat over a low heat for about 15-20 minutes. The fat will run from the duck and the meat will lightly brown. Remove from the heat and add enough duck fat to cover the duck in the skillet. Cover and put in the oven for three hours until the duck meat is very tender. At this point you preserve the duck pieces by putting the meat into wide mouth Mason jars and pour the liquid duck fat into the jars to completely cover and seal the duck pieces. Preserved this way, the duck will keep for several months in the refrigerator. The taste of duck done this way is absolutely mind blowing, and, surprisingly, neither salty nor fatty.

Wine: Big … bold … powerful …. muscular … these are the adjectives often used to describe Madiran, the wine that many would say most decidedly defines the cuisine of Gascony, the South West region of France. It is not for the faint of heart. Full-bodied, chewy texture, pronounced tannins, big flavor. Madiran is the perfect companion to the rich, hearty foods that identify the ubiquitous gastronomy of France’s magnificent rustic cuisine — cassoulet, confit, jambon de Bayonne, sauce perigueux, beef daube — to name just a few of the classics.

The Madiran appellation, located in the hill country facing the Pyrenees Mountains in South West France (see map), is focused entirely on the production of red wine, primarily that made from the Tannat grape. Chateau Peyros dates back to the 17th century. Although their wines are predominately Tannat (by law, to be called Madiran the wine must be at least 60 to 80 percent Tannat), the wine is most often blended with other “big wine grapes” grown in the region like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, and, to a lesser extent, Fer Servadou, a grape sourced almost exclusively in the region of Gascony.

Tasting Notes:  The color is a deep, dark purple red. The nose can best be described as earthy notes of rich soils of a forest floor in late autumn. Can’t you just smell it!? On the palate, the robust tannins bring out the flavors of earth, rosemary, sage, and roast meat. This wine was made for duck confit. The big muscular tannins are softened by the generous fat in the duck yielding an astonishing flavor. The rosemary comes out in the long finish, which seems to go on and on. Madiran really benefits from a long decanting time … from 5 hours to 2 days. Seriously. An amazing wine!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Duck Confit: Tannat/ Merlot Blend (Uruguay), Malbec (Argentina), Cot and Auxerrois (Cahors, France), Cote de Bergerac (South West France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Madiran:  Cassoulet, Grilled Sausage, Country Pate, Mousse de Canard

More About Madiran Wine:  Madiran Wine

A Source: Wine.com

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