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Wine bottle and glass

2014 Tara Pinot Noir
Wine ClubWine Shop


Served at the Harvest Celebration Dinner
November 17, 2003

Chef’s notes:
Immediately upon tasting the 2001 Russian Hill Estate - Top Block Syrah, I thought of pairing it with a savory dish using dried blueberries to echo the deep blueberry notes in the wine.  For this pairing, the wine and the food “match” completely, forming an almost seamless taste experience. The sauce can be further enriched with the addition of a few tablespoons of duck or veal demi-glace right before adding the dried berries in the recipe above.

4 Servings

For the Duck:
2 whole Liberty Duck breasts, halved for a total of 4 portions, trimmed of excess fat
3 Tbsp dried lavender
1 bunch fresh thyme
Salt & fresh ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 cup Russian Hill Top Block Syrah
¼ cup dried blueberries
2 Tbsp blueberry or blackberry preserves
1 Tbsp dried lavender, crushed or minced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Unsalted butter 

The day before, score the skin on the duck breasts, coat with thyme and lavender, and store covered in refrigerator.

To prepare the duck, remove excess lavender and thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and put the duck in the pan, skin side down, and cook slowly to render out the excess fat found in the duck skins (approx 5-6 minutes). Remove the duck from the pan and drain out the rendered fat.

Return the pan to the stove, raise heat to medium-high, and return duck to pan, flesh side down. Cook for approx. 3-5 minutes or until duck breasts are medium rare. Remove to a warm plate to keep warm while preparing sauce.

To prepare sauce, wipe out excess fat from pan. Return to stove, add wine, and reduce on high heat until wine is reduced by ½. Add dried blueberries, and reduce slightly further. Add preserves and whisk to incorporate, reducing to a sauce like consistency. Add thyme and lavender, season with salt and pepper, and off heat swirl in butter.

To serve, slice duck breast widthwise on the diagonal, and pour sauce along side the slices.