Friday, December 9, 2016

Apple-Braised Duck Legs + Dracaena's Cab Franc #WinePW #CabFrancDay

#WinePW Celebrates #CabFrancDay
Wine Pairing Weekend - #winePW - happens on the second Saturday of the each month. Click to read Lori's invitation for this month's event.

In preparation for December's #WinePW event - when Lori of Dracaena Wines asked us to help her celebrate #CabFrancDay - I opened several bottles of Cab Franc and invited some friends over for dinner.

You'll have to read more about that as the recipe and tasting notes I'm sharing aren't any of those!

The Line-Up...listed alphabetically by post title

Live #winePW Twitter Chat December 10, 11 a.m. ET: Participating bloggers and others interested in the subject can connect via a live Twitter chat. It's a nice bring way to bring in others interested in the subject who didn't get a chance to share a blog post. Follow us with hashtag #winePW this weekend.

    In the Glass...
    My initial plan for this post was to compare Cab Francs from around the world. I served and paired the following menu for a Cab Franc pairing dinner party. I had one from Chile, one from South Africa, and one from California. If you click on the hyperlinked titles (not all of them are linked, sorry), you will go to my original recipe post.

    Cab Franc-Friendly Cheese Plate: Port Salut + Gorgonzola
    Grilled Baguette and Warmed Olives
    paired with Maquis Cabernet Franc 2012
    Cabernet Franc from Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile

    Pickled Apples
    paired with Raats Cabernet Franc 2012
    Cabernet Franc from South Africa

    paired with Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc 2013
    Cabernet Franc from North Coast, California

    However, none of the wines that evening thrilled me...or any of us, for that matter. I even opened two other Cab Francs later during the month to see if I wanted to highlight those. Nope. So, I decided to go a different route.

    Earlier this year I uncorked Dracaena Wines' 2013 Cabernet Franc for our March #WinePW #OTBN event. Read that post: here. And, as soon as I saw an email that their new vintage was for sale, I ordered a few bottles immediately. So, for #WinePW's #CabFrancDay, I'm going back to our favorite Cab Franc. I paired Dracaena Wines' 2014 Cabernet Franc with some Apple-Braised Duck Legs.

    Cabernet Franc resembles Cabernet Sauvignon in its aroma, flavor, and appearance though the former tends to be lighter in color than latter. Dracaena's 2014 Cabernet Franc was harvested in October 2014 and bottled in August 2016; this wine was crafted with a blend of 90% Cabernet Franc 10% Petite Sirah before being aged in one-year-old French oak barrels for two years. 

    The color of a deep ruby, I got lots of ripe fruit on the nose and spicy sweetness on the tongue. I have to admit that one of the reasons I liked this wine the best - of all the Cab Francs I poured - it was more Rubenesque. And, by that, I mean it was full-bodied and voluptuous. What a delectable wine! 

    Forgot to mention: The pairing was fantastic! The spicy sweetness of the wine paired nicely with the richness of the duck.

    On the Plate...
    To mirror the sweet and spice in the wine, I decided to do a riff on one of our favorite dinners: braised duck legs. For this version, I added miniature apples and lots of spices and herbs to the mix.

    Apple-Braised Duck Legs

    Braised Duck
  • 4 duck legs
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 2 large onions, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 2 C miniature apples, sliced in half
  • 1-1/2 C stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 C red wine
  • 1/4 C apple cider
  • 1/4 C dried cherries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • handful of fresh herbs (I used dill)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

    Braised Duck
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

    In a Dutch oven or a braiser with a tight-fitting lid, place duck legs, skin side down along with the garlic cloves. Turn heat to medium. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until the fat is rendered and the skin golden and crisped. Flip to the other side and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

    Remove the duck to a plate. Place the onions, fennel, and miniature apples in the Dutch oven. Lay the browned duck pieces on top. Pour in the stock, wine, and cider. Add cherries, herbs, and spices to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in the oven. Braise for 90 minutes.

    Raise the temperature of the oven to 450 degrees. Return the duck to the oven, uncovered and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until the duck is browned and the skin on top crispy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving. 

    I rounded out the dinner plate with a baked potato and a fresh slaw. Cheers!


  1. Thank you so much. Rubenesque! I love that description. So happy you enjoyed our Cab Franc! Slainte!

  2. The Apple Braised Duck Leg looks amazing. I am sorry you did not enjoy any of the Cab francs you tried. May just not be the varietal for you. I like the Chilean Maquis.

    1. You might be right. I love the IDEA of Cab Franc and the stories behind the wines, but, given the choice, I'd definitely uncork something else. The Maquis was our favorite of the three at that Cab Franc dinner though. Good call.

  3. This sounds incredible!! And so happy you loved the Dracaena Cab Franc. I'll have to give it a try soon! Cheers!

    1. Thanks, Cindy. Yes, you definitely need to try it!

  4. Good grief woman. You knock it out of the park every time. I want to make all of these dishes.

    1. Haha. Thanks! Definitely let me know if you try any of them. They are tasty!

  5. What a shame that you had to try so many Cab Franc's....just for comparison purposes, of course LOL....I often find myself going back to a favorite bottle when trying a varietal that I love.

  6. As always Cam, you've dished up a mouth-watering, delectable dish! I fear I would hurt myself with your braised duck legs. Did I miss what you thought of the pairing? Cheers!