DUCK BREAST WITH CELERY RISOTTO: WINE AND FOOD PAIRING 

Recently in her blog Laura Donadoni mentioned a scientific oenogastronomia approach to pairing wine and food based on Mercadini diagram.

What it actually is and how it works? There’s no a lot of information about this approach which was a bit strange for me. As far as I am aware this approach from one hand has a solid scientific base and from another – very useful. Well, let’s take it as ‘secret sacral' knowledge.

This theory was first suggested by Italian professor Pietro Mercadini in 1978 and tested via italian sommelier association (AIS).  The idea is to use the basic taste components of wine and food (acidity, sweetness, structures., etc.) to create and suggest harmonic pairs.

This approach deserves more time, at least a separate article or two. For now I just want to show a practical sample of how Mercadini principles are implemented.

Duck Breast With Celery Risotto

The main ingredient of the dish - duck breast fillet – is cooked at low temperature sous-vide (in a vacuum) so when ready it turns out to be especially tender and melting in the mouth.

This dish contains no fibers thus to find a perfect pair we first of all will be looking for some light wine.

 

Also we have to have in mind that ducks skin is cooked separately - namely fried - to give it a color, and thus it will be ‘crispy’ So in addition to light body we’ll be looking for a soft texture wine with a higher aroma profile and long finish.

In  garnish we will use three different textures of celery root – a celery risotto with porcini mushrooms and Belper Knolle homemade cheese, a truffle oil seasoned celery cube and a light celery cream.

To complete the dish we’ll get chicken demi-glace and fresh parsley sause.

In  garnish we will use three different textures of celery root – a celery risotto with porcini mushrooms and Belper Knolle homemade cheese, a truffle oil seasoned celery cube and a light celery cream.

To complete the dish we’ll get chicken demi-glace and fresh parsley sause.

Having all the components mentioned above, we’re now able to build a Mercadini diagram where we’ll get a fairly large isosceles triangle with one "shortened" apex directed towards the ‘Juicy-Oily’ area.

 

So taking into account the light texture and ‘crispy skin’, we confirm that, yes,  we’ll need a light body wine with bright aroma and mild taste, but the diagram also tells that this is going to be a below average alcohol wine with sound tannins.

We might think about sparkling rose – from Champagne to Cava to Bourgogne Cremats, or  - among still wines - some Beaujolais Grand Crus, like Fleurie of Morgon.

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