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Top foie gras matches

With foie gras illegal in California since 1 July, the drinks business runs through some of the top wine matches for the richly-flavoured treat.

Sauternes is of course everyone’s favourite, but it doesn’t have to be a white wine or indeed sweet as this list will show.

Sauternes’ key matching ability is the elegant sweetness it combines with slicing acidity, keeping the palate fresh after every mouthful despite just having had the sensation of filling it with luscious dollops of cream and nectarines.

The wines on this list play on that match in their own way. Got a better pairing suggestion? Email it to us at:




1. Prestige cuvée Champagne

And why not?

Let the foie gras provide the texture and extreme richness while the Champagne can use its knife-sharp acidity to freshen the palate afterwards.

Of course, the very best vintage and especially prestige cuvée Champagnes have their own level of texture and buttery, biscuity richness, which should go some way to replace the fruit of Sauternes.

The exceptionally complex and indulgent vintage that is 2002 should be particularly up to this task.

2. Sauternes

Having said it wasn’t the be all and end all of foie gras matching, Sauternes did of course have to make our list.

It’s a delectable match, but if you think it’s a little old hat then why not try and find out if a particular château goes better and how vintage variation affects the taste.

Does 2010 Yquem have the edge over a 2001 Doisy-Daëne or Rieussec?

3. Amontillado Sherry

Too far? You be the judge but bear in mind the flavour combination of richness and acidity.

Old amontillado has a dried fruit and nut richness and complexity to it that should provide an intriguing take on this classic combination.

4. 20 year old Tawny Port

Not all foie gras wine pairings need be white.

Flagging up the drink’s suitability as a match for a wide range of challenging food matches, including spicy dishes, George Sandeman, chairman of his family’s Port house, now owned by Sogrape Vinhos, suggests of the foie gras partnership: “There’s a natural affinity – that sweetness cuts through.”

For more on Port, especially Port and Asian cuisine, see the July issue of the drinks business.

5. Demi-sec Champagne

If you’re happy to try a prestige cuvée with your foie, why not try a sweeter Champagne as well?

The same principles apply: richness of the wine, cleansing acidity and so on, it’s just that we’ve reverted to type and gone for something sweet again.

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