Traditional rules work well, white before red and light before heavier wines. The first thing to decide – probably based on your guests – is the relative importance of food versus wine. If wine is key, a dinner party becomes theoretically simple, with classic combinations; fish or seafood with white Burgundy, red meat with red Burgundy or Claret and, perhaps, some bubbles on offer as aperitif, and a dessert wine and port in reserve. If you are planning a dinner party for friends who appreciate – rather than revere – wine and who warrant upping the spend per bottle, we would definitely recommend paying more attention to potentially tricky ingredients, such as spices, asparagus, artichokes and vinegar. A little tip: When choosing wine, always bear in mind that fixed costs (eg. transport, duty, tax, dry materials) represent too high a proportion of the price of inexpensive wines, so adding a few extra pounds per bottle will have a marked effect on the quality inside the bottle.
See below for our recipe suggestion and matching wines
Score, season and lightly oil the duck breasts and place skin side down in a cold frying pan. Turn on the heat and fry until skin is brown and crispy. Turn to sear the underside for 2 minutes then transfer to a baking tray and cook in the oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove and leave to rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve.
For the cassis sauce
Make a roux with the butter and flour.
In a pan fry the onions in a little butter until browned and add the garlic. Mix in the roux and the vinegar then whisk in the hot stock and cassis. Simmer and reduce until sauce is desired thickness, sieve and season to taste.