A few styles to consider when pairing wine with pork:
- German Riesling
- Condrieu / Viognier
- Chenin Blanc
- Pinot Noir
- Red or rosé Grenache / Garnacha
- Aged Barolo (Nebbiolo)
- Sicilian Nerello Mascalese
‘Rich white wines and juicy red wines’
There are no hard and fast rules for pairing wine with pork, but ‘rich whites and juicy reds tend to work well’, according to Decanter contributing editor Matt Walls.
Is pork a white or red meat? 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’.
For wine pairing it’s important to think about ‘the cut of the pork, the way it’s cooked and especially what sauce you are serving it with’, said Jean-Baptiste Lemoine, head sommelier at the Goring.
Wine with pork belly, roast pork and suckling pig
For tender, melt-in-the-mouth suckling pig, he advised drinking lighter styles of red, such as Spanish Mencia, Nerello Mascalese from Sicily, Pinot Noir from cooler regions or Chilean Carmenere.
Riesling with a touch of sweetness can work well for white wine drinkers, he added.
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.
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 Walls.
As an expert on the Rhône Valley in particular, he advised turning to the Grenache heartland of Gigondas.
For white wine lovers, ‘Condrieu [Viognier] can be a brilliant match for pork roasted with herbs like Oregano or Marjoram,’ he 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.
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.’
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 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.
Lemoine suggested a 100% Grenache rosé, particularly the more full-bodied styles from Spain, where the grape variety is known as Garnacha.
Aged Barolo 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 at Christmas could be a good time to pull the cork, said Lemoine, who said the softer tannins and complexity of these wines after a few years of bottle age will work well with the meat.
That said, you might want to evaluate the length of the guest list before opening such a bottle.
See also: Guide to pairing wine with charcuterie