Easing into the holidays makes me think of roasted foul. As an American, nothing says the holiday season has arrived like the wafting scent of a roasting turkey. The season is full of foul offerings. It’s a time to indulge in decadence, and I always want to pair decadence with a nice glass of wine. In the USA there’s an annual marketing push telling us that we should eat Turkey with the timely-released Beaujolais Noveau. And while I do think that light, fruity Grenache is a nice pair with roasted Turkey, Beaujolais Noveau usually takes on a candy like sweetness, which doesn’t work for me. Although, if you’re the guy who likes to smear his turkey with loads of sweet cranberry sauce, then that pairing might be for you.

Simply Stated
For simply prepared poultry (things like roasted turkey or fried chicken) I can really go to extremes – red, white or rose. Look to pair the aforementioned Grenache, or, a nice rich, slightly off dry California Chardonnay, but for me personally, I like a nice rosé. We’ve talked Rosé before, and I think that this is the perfect opportunity to pull one out. The only word of caution here is to find a richer example, and avoid the drier varieties. 

Follow the Sauce
Sometimes, it’s the accompanying sauce that drives the pairing.  Duck with Cherry Sauce? Pair for the sauce, as it’s the dominant flavor. Pinot Noir’s cherry overtones handle this style of sauce well. Do you enjoy dousing your Peking Duck with Plum Sauce? Pair that with something nice and jammy like a juicy Aussie Shiraz, or a luscious Argentine Malbec.

Foie Gras
Foie Gras is classically paired with sultry sweet Sauternes, a French sweet wine. This follows the easiest food and wine pairing guideline: stick with similar flavors.  The sweet luscious wine is similar to the rich and unctuous liver. Personally, however, I like to contrast the richness of the foie gras with a semi sweet sparkling, especially when the foie (more often than not) comes with a sweet jam or relish.  While you’re treating yourself to foie gras, go ahead and splurge on a nice vintage Champagne, my pairing of choice.

Have a Quack
It’s not all about turkey and chicken. Especially being in Asia, we find our fair share of duck around.  For simply prepared duck dishes like classic French Duck Confit, Pinot Noir again comes to mind.  The fattiness of the duck is tempered by the juicy pinot. Another go to for duck is something from France’s Chinon region. These predominantly Cabernet Franc led wines, feature nice smoky black cherry flavors that compliment relatively meaty duck. 


Michael Kloster spent a lifetime drinking, pouring and brewing to research this column.  He has been involved in the hospitality industry for the better part of two decades, nearly half of that time in our very own Ho Chi Minh City. Feel free to invite him out for a few: klosterclassico@gmail.com