Little in this world is better than well-prepared, medium-rare duck. Along with PB & Js and watching the Cubs lose, it will never get old.
Well-done duck in any form, I can take or leave. But when Aldi has whole ducks for $12 and the wine can world so recently opened itself up to us, Mrs. Ney pounced on the occasion to give it a go.
With the possibility of this being a colossal failure, though, we had multiple back-up plans.
The alternatives were not needed. Wine can duck works.
Food: Wine Can Duck with Farro and Shaved Brussels Sprouts
Duck done with white wine and the usual herbal compliment.
Farro with chestnuts and shallots, nutmeg and thyme. Chestnuts to simulate the deliciousness that comes with farro and mushrooms without the mushrooms.
Shaved Brussels sprouts sautéed in bacon fat and mixed with bacon and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the entire plate.
Duck = great. If $12 Aldi duck presents itself again, it would be an option. Whole duck elsewhere is probably too expensive for what you would get, but the light glaze based in cherry jam made it taste greater than the sum of its parts. Avec had a shaved Brussels sprout small plate on the menu this summer that made us return to Brussels sprouts. But this preparation was the best I've ever had. Pomegranate seeds brought a brightness for me that elevated everything.
Overall, while Mrs. Ney was marginally pessimistic about the venture, it turned out to be a pretty great meal.
Wine: 2006 Archery Summit Premier Cuvée - $35 Binny's
Sourced from four different vineyards, the premier cuvée is essentially the house wine from one of Oregon's best producers, the cheaper non-single-vineyard wine from grapes that didn't make the single-vineyard cut.
We had this wine before, Mrs. Ney loved it and I was confused by it. I seem to remember this being a darker wine with spice, orange peel and earth flying around everywhere (probably melding it in my brain with Ken Wright Savoya, another one I came to understand later). Mrs. Ney remembered an elegance that came with soft cherry and nice acidity.
Mrs. Ney's recollection was right on. Lighter red in the glass, it had a soft purity of fruit that intermingled with a touch of spice and a graceful acidity. Had a spine that didn't demand attention. Burgundian might be a good descriptor but had a cleanness of New World pinot noir.
It evolved nicely with the food, going from the definition of a pleasant softness with lightly acidic cherry to some Asian (?) spice with more acidity to a tad tart toward the end over the course of an hour.
Alone, after the meal, a lot of forest floor. Nothing great.
Pairing: Well Above Average
Would certainly do it again. With the duck, everything was in line if not sublime. Played like pinot noir properly should with duck without offering any real surprises. Not a bad thing. Duck and pinot noir is the ultimate food and wine match in so many ways.
Oddly, the Brussels sprouts with bacon and parmesan made for the best pairing. The wine's fruit exploded followed by an acidity that made the wine's finish gone on much longer than any other food. Seemed like the pomegranate seeds brought out different red fruits outside of the usual cherry. Slightly sweet berry?
With roast duck, no red pairing is really out of bounds. Adding a touch of chocolate to the glaze would probably have made for a wonderful Bordeaux pairing. Herb it up a bit more and a Chateauneuf-Du-Pape might have been nice.
We went a tad traditional and it was entirely enjoyable.