Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peking Duck Paired with 2010 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Merlot

Peking Duck

To celebrate the Chinese New Year and the New England Patriots victory over the Baltimore Ravens, I decided to prepare a Chinese classic – Peking duck.  Well, it is not exactly roasted raven, but it is about as close as I plan to get. 

This pairing also features a special treat thanks to the nice people at Barboursville Vineyards.  Following a recent post featuring the Barboursville Chardonnay (Halibut Steak Poached in Coconut Milk with Coconut Milk Foam, Garlic Sautéed Asparagus and Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers and Potatoes Pan Fried in Duck Fat Paired with 2010 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Chardonnay) Luca Paschina, the winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards was very generous in sending me several of their wines to taste and pair.  Barboursville Vineyards produces fantastic wine (I am now a solid 2 for 2) – you will be hearing more about them soon.

2010 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Merlot-1

While all the flavors and textures of Peking Duck combine to warrant it’s exalted place as a Chinese classic, the sweet rich flavors of the hoisin sauce dominate.  Normally, I would have prepared the hoisin sauce, but decided to go with the store version with a bit of elaboration (orange zest, orange juice, sesame oil, and sriracha).

Selecting the 2010 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Merlot was pretty straight forward for this pairing.  Merlot is always a good choice for duck, but with the addition of the hoisin sauce, my choice was confirmed, and gratefully rewarded.

2010 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Merlot

The 2010 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Merlot is an exceptionally approachable wine that is pleasantly restrained in it’s treatment allowing the terroir and grape to speak for themselves.  The medium body of this wine was a precise match for the Peking duck.  But the real treat came with the magically complementary flavors.  The wine features flavors of red berries, a barely perceptible hint of oak, and round subtle tannins adding to an exceptionally smooth mouth feel.

If you have yet to be impressed by a Virginia Merlot, I encourage you to visit Barboursville Vineyards.  You will not be disappointed!  This was confirmed by our group of wine drinking Patriots fans.  Unanimous accolades for the Merlot, duck and Patriots echoed through the house.

Peking Duck-1


Roasted Peking Duck


  • One 4 to 6 pound duck
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
  • 1 diced scallion
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 2 scallions diced for garnish


Hanging Peking Duck

  1. Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string wings, cut a hole through the neck skin, and run the string through the hole.
  2. Hang duck in cool, windy place for 3 to 4 hours. 
  3. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add ginger, diced scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch and stir to ensure no lumps.
  4. Gently place the duck in the boiling liquid and scoop liquid over duck for 10 minutes.
  5. Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 3 to 4 hours or until thoroughly dry.
  6. Place duck breast side up directly on the rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan half filled with water in bottom on a rack below the duck to catch drippings. Roast for 30 minutes.
  7. Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more.
  8. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.
  9. Mix hoisin with sesame oil, orange zest, orange juice, and Sriracha.
  10. Carve duck and serve on Chinese pancakes with hoisin sauce mixture and scallion garnish.

Hanging Peking Duck-2

Alternative preparation if you don't have the time to let the duck hang and dry.

  1. Skip the original hanging procedure and proceed to the boiling.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Place duck in a roasting pan with a grate to allow the drippings to fall away from the duck.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes breast side up, flip for 30 minutes, and finish with breast side up for 10 minutes.

Chinese Pancakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water, as needed
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, or as needed


  1. Add flour to the bowl of a kitchen mixer with a dough hook. Turn mixer to medium and add the boiling water.
  2. Allow the dough to knead until smooth. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the rested dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each half out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or a pint glass to cut out 3-inch circles of dough.
  4. Brush 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil over the top of 2 dough circles. Lay one pancake on top of each other, so that the oiled sides are together. Roll out the pancakes to form a 6-inch circle. Continue with the remainder of the pancakes.
  5. Heat a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add one of the pancake pairs and cook until browned on both sides
  6. Remove the paired pancakes from the pan and pull them apart. Continue with the remainder of the pancakes.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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