Wine & Food Match Test #1: Seared Duck Breast with Cherries & Port Sauce with Marques De Riscal Rioja Reserva 2006

The other night, I was wanting to create a lovely romantic dining experience at home for my husband and I.  So I whipped out the ipad (*very important business tool!*) and opened the Epicurious application and started searching for recipes that took my fancy.   I came across a recipe for seared duck breast with cherries and port that sounded fantastic.      So I got the ingredients, whipped up the dish almost to the recipe specs, and then added sides of al-dente green beans and oven roasted new baby potatoes and nashi pear.

The recipe made a wine match suggestion for a particular Crianza Rioja which had black cherry and smoky notes.   The one suggested though was not one that I could get my hands on so I decided to try it with another Rioja — Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva 2006.  This wine was one that was featured at the Wineseeker Spanish wine and tapas evening the previous week but as I was manning the store on the night had not had the chance to taste it.    This wine is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano & Mazuelo.

The tasting note from Sophie of St Vincent’s Cave reads “Cherry coloured with spicy, balsamic aromas of great complexity, with notes of ripe dark berries and light toasted nuances. Delicate yet complex, with good structure and rounded elegant tannins. The finish is long and fresh, with a slight reminder of the fine oak.”

I thought I would give it a go with this duck dish — opening it up two hours before dinner was ready.

The Duck Recipe:  5 out of 5

The Wine:   4 out of 5

The Matching Verdict:   3.5 out of 5

The wine was a bit overpowered by the amazing cherry and port sauce.   I think I needed to go for a fuller bodied and richer wine with similar flavour characters.

The port sauce is one that I want to make and bottle for later!  – it is that amazing as well as simple but also pretty rich.   It went fantastically with the duck.   The roasted pear among the potatoes was a bit of a surprise combination — the texture and flavours actually worked.

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