The night I proposed to my wife was no ordinary night, so I needed a very special recipe to mark the occasion. I decided to make roasted duck breast with duck jus and confit potato, based on a recipe by the renowned Japanese-born Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda. Recipes by Tetsuya Wakuda are notoriously difficult to cook, but this recipe is an exception. It is a delicious meal and quite easy to prepare – just stick exactly to the recipe and it will work. After all, it worked for me and she said “yes!”
The glaze is one of the elements that makes this dish so luxurious – it is made in a saucepan by dissolving brown sugar into mirin (or dry sherry) and soy sauce. The confit potatoes are placed in a freezer bag with the pepper, sugar, salt and goose fat and boiled for 30 minutes. The duck breasts are baked and then painted with the glaze before being grilled. This makes the skin wonderfully dark brown and crispy.
When I cooked this recipe for my wife on the night I proposed, I didn’t have a Helen & Joey Estate wine to pair it with, as we didn’t exist then. We did have a Grand Cru Burgundy and it worked quite well. However, if I were to make this meal again I would definitely say that it would pair perfectly with our Layla or Alena Pinot Noir. Our cool climate in the Yarra Valley east of Melbourne creates grape growing conditions that are ideal for producing high quality pinot noir.
The Layla Pinot Noir is made from grapes taken from our “hill block” where the soil is shallow and contains a high amount of sandstone. This makes for a light, fruity wine with spice notes of cinnamon and clove integrated with creamy oak tones.
The Alena Pinot Noir has a slightly different flavour palette. The grapes were specially managed from a small section on the estate and the careful attention to detail makes them incredibly complex in flavour. This wine has fruit notes of raspberry and cherry and a chocolate orange aroma with floral notes of lavender and violet and so much more.
If you are looking for a recipe to mark a momentous occasion or to really impress an important someone, this Tetsuya Wakuda dish is perfect. Pair it with our Layla or Alena Pinot Noir and you will enjoy a gorgeous balance of complementing flavours that will set the mood for any special evening.