Every pork dish can pair splendidly with a variety of white and red wines. The choice boils down to how you prepare your pork, the seasonings, and the sauce. For example, pork roast pairs well with Chardonnay but tastes just as good with Pinotage. Ultimately, the best choice for your pork comes down to what you like.
Wine pairing is a culinary school 101 and remains an obsession of mine to this day. I really savor the moment I bite into a succulent piece of pork, take a sip of wine, and feel a delicious harmony get my palate’s approval. Let me show you how it is done.
In this post, I will look at some guidelines for pairing wine with pork before we pair our favorite pork recipes. I will also look at 5 red and 5 white wines that were just made for pork as we address any other pressing questions regarding wine pairings.
Wine Pairing For Our Everyday Pork Recipes
Given the many wine options and the million ways there are to prepare pork, nailing the perfect bottle for your recipe can be a bit of a task. To help you out, here are my top wine suggestions for our favorite pork recipes:
Wine With Roast Pork Belly Or Crispy Suckling Pig
Roasted pork belly or crispy suckling pig are timeless recipes. They are succulent, fatty, and packed full of flavor. They are best paired with a high-acidity wine that has some sweetness.
If you go for a white wine, try a German Riesling, Assyrtiko, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chenin Blanc. For my pork roasts, I am partial to Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc. Its high acidity seamlessly cuts through the fat of your pork roasts. Moreover, its fruity flavor complements the savory notes of pork roast and suckling pig.
If you go red, try the light to medium body of a young Rioja. I like Muga Rioja Reserva Red Wine. With moderate tannins and a vanilla finish, it is a great complement to the rich taste of your pork roast or suckling pig.
Wine With Pork BBQ
Rosé wine can be a wonderful addition to your pork BBQ especially if you go for a dry one with the acidity and body to match the meat. Grenache rose pairs well with most BBQs be it pulled pork or chops. Consider Blossom Hill Grenache Rosé Wine. Other rosé options to pair with your BBQ include Merlot rosé, and Pinot Noir rosé
Wine With Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut with a subtle pork flavor. Characteristically, lean cuts of meat are less flavorful. To lift the subtle flavor of your tenderloin try the crisp acidity of Chardonnay. Additionally, its round buttery flavors perfectly match the tender texture of tenderloin, especially when served with a delicious apple sauce.
Alternatively, you could pair your tenderloin with a light-red wine like Pinot Noir.
Wine With Pork Sausages
Pork sausages mean a fun, hearty feast. Go for a wine with the same qualities. I have had excellent results with Beaujolais.
This red wine has a medium-to-light body, medium-high acidity, and low tannins. It also has rich fruity and earthy notes. I recommend Louis Jadot Beaujolais Red Wine. It can handle complex spices in your sausages.
Wine With Pork Chops
Light red wines like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais are perfect with leaner cuts of meat like pork chops when grilled or broiled with a simple sauce. These wines complement the savory flavor of pork without overwhelming it. Alternatively, if you want to go white, I recommend the citrus, herbal notes of Sauvignon Blanc to add some freshness to your dish.
Alternatively, opt for a Pinotage. The char of grilled pork chops complements the smoky coffee notes of Cappuccino Pinotage 2021.
If your pork chops are accompanied by a sweet barbecue sauce, complement it with the floral aroma and residual sugar of Riesling. For a more complex flavor, consider the peach, cinnamon, and nutmeg notes of Valkenberg Gewurztraminer.
Wine With Ham
When it comes to ham, the best wine pairing depends on its flavor. There’s aged ham, savory and smoky ham, and sweet and glazed ham. Each has a specific flavor profile that is best suited to different wines. Take a look:
Cured and aged hams like serrano, prosciutto, and jamón ibérico are rich in salt and have a chewy texture. They pair exceptionally well with crisp, effervescent wines simply because they can cut through their saltiness and refresh your palate. Consider, Champagne, Cava, or a sparkling rosé.
Alternatively, try dry white wines like Riesling and Pinot Grigio.
Savory Glazed Ham
This is ham coated with a glaze that adds a spicy or savory flavor. Common options include mustard-glazed ham and cider-glazed ham. A great wine to pair with such hams is an acidic, fruity wine that balances the spices in your meat. Examples include Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, and of course Riesling.
Sweet Glazed Ham
This refers to ham flavored with sweeteners like sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Examples include Virginia ham, Canadian ham, and country ham. To complete this meal, complement the sweetness of the ham with a fruity or sweet wine like Zinfandel, Grenache, Lambrusco, or Gewürztraminer
Which Red Wines Pair Well With Pork?
These 5 red wines were crafted for pork:
A full-bodied wine with the signature flavor of berries. I love serving it alongside stuffed pork loin and red sauce.
This South African wine is known for the ripe flavors of fig, blackberry, and cherry with a smoky finish.
A bold rich red wine that can balance out the fat and flavor of your pork with notes of bacon, red and black fruits, vanilla, and more.
A light-bodied wine with the fresh fruity flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and cherries. It pairs well with sausage seasoning and brings some brightness to the dish.
A medium-bodied sweet wine celebrated for its green peppercorn, tobacco, leather, and chocolate notes.
Which White Wines Pair Well With Pork?
Here are 5 white wines that pair well with pork:
A full-bodied wine that stands up to the richness of roasted or grilled pork dishes. Chardonnay has notes of apple, apricot, lemon, and lots more that enhance pork flavor. Pair chardonnay with a nice apple sauce, creamy sauce, or herb sauce for best results.
This white wine has a crisp acidity and rich notes of lime, lemon, apricot, and pineapple that cut through the fat and sweetness of pork. Try it with pork roast, sausages, or pulled pork.
A light-bodied wine that complements lean, delicate pork dishes like tenderloin and pork scallopini. Grigio has the fruity notes of peaches, lime, and lemon, among others.
This wine is medium-bodied and pairs perfectly with spicy and herbal dishes like pork curry and rosemary garlic pork. It boasts grapefruit and gooseberry notes that complement the pork flavor.
This is a rare one that pairs exceptionally well with cheesy and creamy pork. It carries notes of pears, almonds, peaches, and apricots. In my opinion, it matches the complexity of creamy and cheesy dishes.
Guidelines For the Best Pork and Wine Pairings
Here are some factors to consider you should always keep in mind when pairing wine with pork:
The fat content of your pork cut is one of the most important factors to consider when pairing pork with wine. Some pork cuts have more fat than others.
For example, pork belly is rich in fat whereas tenderloin is much leaner. To cut through fat, go for a wine with a high acidity level. That way, the tannins in the wine combat the fat in your pork roast.
Always consider the amount of salt in your dish. If your pork is salty, go for a wine not heavy on the tannins to avoid overwhelming the meal. For example, ham, which is typically salty, is best paired with a light, crispy white wine with high acidity like Chenin Blanc.
Your recipe plays a big role in wine pairing. For example, if you are firing up your grill for a pork dinner, you might want to go with a wine that complements the smoke-kissed notes of your pork like Pinotage. Sweet sauces on the other hand pair well with sweet, fruity wines.
Sauces & Glazes
The sauce or glaze you prepare should factor into the wine you choose because it affects the flavor and intensity of your food.
A sweet and spicy pork sauce adds heat and richness to your dish. In this case, choose a bottle that will balance out this taste like a fruity Zinfandel.
As for a tangy, light glaze that enhances the freshness and acidity of the pork, go for a tangy wine like dry Riesling.
Most importantly, don’t forget your taste buds. They have the final say. To that effect, pair your pork dinner with your favorite wine regardless of whether it is ‘acceptable’ in the culinary world. Try out different combinations to find out what works for you.
The Cliff Note Version
Pairing wine largely depends on your recipe, accompaniments, and of course, your personal preference. Pork is a widely versatile meat that is prepared in many methods. You can have pork as pork roast, pulled pork, grilled chops, pork burgers, sausages, smoked pork butt, glazed ham and much more.
Consider the fat and salt content of your pork, the sauce, or the glaze, and then choose the bottle you prefer. It really is that easy.