Pairing food and wine | What to uncork with game

With the colder months comes the hunting season, and game features as a key ingredient of many an autumnal dish. Boar, woodcock, pheasant, hare, partridge, wild duck, and venison all make for a hearty meal on a chilly evening. But what kind of wine should you pair with these succulent and gastronomic meals?

What exactly do we mean by game?

‘Wild mammals or birds hunted for sport or food’. Some are feathered, others are furry, and they each have a distinctive taste to be enjoyed. There is something they have in common, though, that will help us with our wine choices: game meat has firm flesh and a strong taste to it. They are often marinated to soften them a bit, as well as being roasted in the oven, both delicious ways to prepare a nourishing meal.

What should we drink with this kind of meat?

Quite simply, you should uncork a red. Although we have a surprise idea for you at the end of the article.

More supple and delicate reds, or mature vintages, should be served with birds like quail, pheasant, thrush, wood pigeon, wild duck or woodcock. Powerful wines will pair better with tougher game like boar and venison.

More specifically…

To please everyone: a 5–10-year-old Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône

For fans of organic and biodynamic wines: a Cornas, such as the Billes Noires from Domaine du Coulet

Fit for a banquet (without breaking the bank): a Côtes-du-Roussillon, a Collioure, a Saint-Chinian, or a Saint-Joseph

To bring a bit of sunshine: a Languedoc wine such as a Corbières, a Costières-de-Nîmes, or a Fitou

To look like a true wine expert: head for Bordeaux with a Médoc grand cru classé, such as Pauillac or Saint-Estèphe, a Pessac-Léognan, or a Moulis…preferably Chasse-Spleen or Poujeaux if you want to be especially chic.

To be a bit different: a Chinon, a Bourgueil, (both from the Loire), a Beaujolais cru such as Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent, or maybe a southern Cahors

And we did promise you a surprise. So if you want to cause a stir without losing all credibility, we recommend these white wines: if you’re serving hare, try a Pinot Gris or a Gewurztraminer. With partridge, you could uncork a Meursault. And if you’ve made a dish using wild duck, you might want to pair it with a vin jaune! Trust us on this one…

So, when’s dinner ready?

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