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Chateauneuf du Pape
The luxurious, buttery quality of foie gras calls for pairing with a good quality vintage wine, whether white, red or Champagne. In general, you should avoid young or very light-bodied wines. But, most importantly, the wine that usually works best is a wine that you really like.
The classic pairing with foie gras is Sauternes; however, there are many wonderful alternatives. The method of preparation and ingredients used in your recipe will give you clues about which wines to serve.
For example, when foie gras is prepared with fruit, a wine that does not fight with the acidity of the fruit is best. Sauternes or another sweet wine balances out the acidity of the fruit with the sweetness of the wine. For a rich, creamy or spicy preparation, champagne is usually a good choice. Champagne is particularly nice with spicy foods. Savory and richly textured foie gras dishes pair nicely with heavier bodied wines such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.
If the foie gras is served as an appetizer, you may want to try a good vintage Champagne, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, or even a medium bodied red. Sweet wines like Sauternes may also work well as long as the level of sweetness does not interfere with the next course.
When serving foie gras as an entrée, and always depending on the recipe, the wines mentioned above will be a good match, as would Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon. The reds are especially nice if the recipe is served hot. Here again, a good Champagne, Sauternes or other sweet wine will do fine, always considering your wine preferences.
Among the best sweet wines, the legendary “liquid gold” Chateau D‚Yquem, is unique in its class. But a Chateau Coutet or Lafaurie from Sauternes or Barsac is also wonderful, and much more affordable. From the same region of France is Montbazillac, or Jurancon, two less expensive alternatives to Sauternes. Muscat, Port and the great California late harvest wines will also complement foie gras.
You may also want to try the best wines from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, or Australia. Be adventurous; wine tasting is fun.
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Fine wine resources
If you are unable to locate the vintage or hard-to-find wines that you desire, there are many on-line purveyors of fine wines.
For an incredible selection of Sauternes (almost 70 total wines of different vintages from about 19 producers), Champagnes, and other imported and domestic wines, try www.premiercru.net. Premier Cru is an upscale wine shop in Emeryville, California. Their service is superb, and the selection of Sauternes is unbeatable. The wines may be ordered on-line and shipped to any state permitting wine to be shipped.
Taylor & Norton Wine Merchants, www.taylorandnorton.com, based in Sonoma, the heart of California’s wine country, carries not only the finest California wines, but also fine and rare wines from around the world. Taylor and Norton offers about 20 Sauternes and 30 Champagnes.
Though you won’t find as many choices for Sauternes, www.wine.com is one of the largest on-line wine stores in the world, carrying over 14,000 fine wines.