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Wine with pork: Advice on great pairings

From BBQ pulled pork to roasted belly or bangers and mash, this is a meat with many guises that can pair well with a range of red and white wines. See our guide below, with new wine reviews added in November 2023.

Seven wine styles to drink with pork:

White wine

  • German Riesling
  • Condrieu  (Viognier)
  • Chenin Blanc

Red wine

  • Pinot Noir
  • Grenache / Garnacha (red or rosé)
  • Aged Barolo (Nebbiolo)
  • Sicilian Nerello Mascalese

Surprise the wine connoisseur in your life this Christmas!

Red or white wine with pork?

‘Rich whites and juicy reds tend to work well’, said Decanter Rhône correspondent Matt Walls. But, there are no hard and fast rules for pairing wine with pork.

Nutritional studies class pork as a red meat, despite its relatively light appearance and a renowned advertising campaign by the US National Pork Board entitled ‘the other white meat’.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoine, dining room manager and director of wines at The Goring in London, said it’s important to consider:

  • the cut of the pork;
  • the way it’s cooked;
  • the sauce you are serving it with.

Wine with pork belly and suckling pig

For tender, melt-in-the-mouth suckling pig, Lemoine advised drinking lighter styles of red. These include Spanish Mencia, Nerello Mascalese from Sicily, Pinot Noir from cooler regions or Chilean Carménère.

Riesling with a touch of sweetness can work well for white wine drinkers, he said.

This is also a good option for pork belly and was listed as one of the top 25 food and wine pairings by Fiona Beckett in a previous article for Decanter.com.

‘Roast pork belly works best with a wine that has a high level of acidity plus a touch of sweetness,’ Beckett wrote.

‘Cue dry German Riesling, especially if apple is served alongside. It provides welcome freshness, cuts through the fat and doesn’t detract from the crispness of the crackling.’

She also suggested a young red Burgundy, returning to the Pinot Noir theme above.

Red wine to drink with roast pork

A combination of fresh acidity and juicy red fruit can also work well with roast pork, on the other hand.

Decanter’s Julie Sheppard previously recommended this Cabernet Franc from Mendoza, available at Sainsbury’s in the UK, for instance.

Roast pork beyond suckling pig can handle a slightly bolder wine, although fleshy, juicy fruit and bright acidity should generally work better than the sort of tannic heavyweight that might pair with a darker red meat like steak.

‘Roast pork calls for something that combines richness with acidity, whether it’s white or red,’ said Matt Walls.

As an expert on the Rhône Valley in particular, he advised turning to the Grenache heartland of Gigondas.

Can you drink white wine with roast pork?

For white wine lovers, ‘Condrieu [Viognier] can be a brilliant match for pork roasted with herbs like Oregano or Marjoram,’ Walls said.

He added that it’s also worth considering Pinot Noir from warmer climates, plus fresher styles of Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc from either the Loire Valley or South Africa.

Some styles of white Rioja can also be delicious with roast pork. Decanter’s Amy Wislocki recommended this ‘intense, toasty, oily and nutty’ example from Allende, which also shows ‘incredible length’.

Wine with pork sausages

Walls returned to the Grenache theme when considering a wine for pork sausages. ‘For a classic bangers and mash, I tend to reach for a young Grenache-based wine like a southern Rhône.’

Grenache-based blends with lots of juicy fruit and depth could be a winner with barbecued sausages too.

A high-acid red like Barbera, meanwhile, can match well with the fattiness of a sausage pasta dish, especially if tomatoes have added extra acidity to the meal.

Rosé wine with BBQ pork

Dry rosé wines could be a good bet for BBQ pork, whether pulled or cooked as a chop.

However, the meat might overpower some of the more delicate styles.

The Goring’s Lemoine suggested a Grenache rosé, particularly the more full-bodied styles from Spain, where the grape variety is known as Garnacha.

Aged Barolo wine with roast ham

Are you lucky enough to have any bottles of top Barolo, Bordeaux or white Burgundy quietly ageing away in your cellar?

Then the serving of a roast ham – whether at Christmas or any other time of year – could be a great excuse to pull the cork on a treasured bottle, said Lemoine.

He said the softer tannins and complexity of these wines after a few years of bottle age will work well with the meat.

This article was first published in 2019 and has been edited in November 2023, including with the addition of new wine reviews (below).

Reviews by our experts: inspiration on pairing wine with pork

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