cooked meat being chopped on a board

What wine goes with pork?

By BBC Maestro

From pulled pork to juicy pork sausages, there are myriad ways to serve this meat – but what wine goes with pork? 

Whether you’re looking for something to serve with a summer barbeque, or a warming wine for cold evenings, let’s take a look at the best wine pairings with pork.

What wines to serve with pork?

Firstly, are there any hard-and-fast wine pairing rules you need to consider when choosing what wine to serve with pork?

Not really, according to Jancis Robinson in her BBC Maestro course, An Understanding of Wine. There is some traditional thinking around food and wine matching which originated 40 or 50 years ago, when French cuisine was regarded as the pinnacle of dining. However, as Jancis explains:

“While there are some classic suggestions that have stood the test of time, today we enjoy a way of eating that is vastly different. Some still regard white table-clothed restaurants serving classic cuisine with carefully matched wines as something to aspire to.

But most of us enjoy a more relaxed way of eating; inviting friends over for a barbecue; the concept of ‘shared plates’ where food is served to all; a meal centred around the Asian way of presenting food – lots of dishes served at once rather than in succession. Cuisines and ways of eating that were once deemed exotic such as Thai, Vietnamese or Japanese, are now commonplace.”

That means you can throw the ways of thinking out the window when it comes to choosing wine to go with food, whether it’s pork, lamb or duck – if you want to, that is! If you do want to follow the rules, there are some tried-and-tested methods that are sure to help you choose the perfect wine. These include:

  • Match the weight of your food and wine – that is, pairing heavier meals with heavier wines, and lighter food with lighter wines
  • Choose a wine that’s more acidic than your food
  • Go for wine that’s sweeter than your food
  • Food and wine from the same region always work well together, meaning it’s always worth considering wine regions when choosing something to drink with your meal

Above all else, though, Jancis emphasises that you should try not to stress over finding the perfect food and wine pairings. She says:

“Being with friends, celebrating a success, or simply creating a meal for the family, should be about the occasion, not worrying whether the food and wine combination is perfect. If you feel like eating X and drinking Y, chances are that, based on your past experience, X will go with Y.”

That being said, if you do want a little guidance on the best wines to drink with pork, keep reading for some combinations you can’t go wrong with.

Pork chop

Wine pairings for pulled pork

A flavourful dish like pulled pork needs a wine that can stand up to its flavours. A red wine that’s high in acid with plenty of fruity flavours will help to cut through the fatty nature of the dish whilst pulling out those smoky flavours too.

You can never go wrong with Pinot Noir and pork, and it’s the perfect choice for pulled pork in particular, especially if you’re serving it with a barbecue sauce. Another excellent choice is a young Rioja, with notes of strawberry and vanilla to offset the smokiness of the meat.

Wine to drink with pork belly

Pork belly is a particularly fatty cut of meat, so it’s best served with a high-acidity wine to cut through the fat.

You may automatically gravitate towards red wine when cooking with pork, but a dry white wine like a German Riesling is actually a very good partner for pork belly. As Jancis explains:

“Pork has a relatively rich flavour so wines with a little sweetness such as off-dry Riesling go well.”

The wine has enough flavour of its own to stand up to the pork’s rich taste, but it’s fresh enough to provide a palate cleanser for your mouth.

You could also try Champagne or another dry sparkling wine, which will work well with the meat’s salty flavour.

BBQ pork

What wine goes with pork sausages?

Sausages are uncomplicated comfort food, so think about easy-drinking wines to go with them. If you’re having flavoured sausages, you might want to choose your wine based on that.

Light sausages like pork and leek or pork and apple go well with a robust white wine like Chenin Blanc, while spiced sausages are a good match for lighter, unoaked reds like Pinotage and Zinfandel.

You could also go for an orange wine. This type of wine works well when you might usually reach for a flavourful white wine or a light red, as it has plenty of flavour and character, making it a perfect match for pork.

Wine pairing for BBQ pork

Similarly to pulled pork, barbecue pork needs a bold red wine to balance out the high fat and rich flavours of the meat. Pinot Noir is a strong choice to serve alongside your BBQ pork, whatever the cut of meat.

If you’re looking for something slightly different, you could try serving ruby port on ice. The sweet wine will perfectly balance the smoky flavour of the meat. It’s something a little different and may impress your guests.

If you’re grilling pork chops, then you could consider a medium-body rosé wine. The wine’s crisp flavour will complement the smoky flavours of the meat ­– a perfect combination for those summer months.

Wine to serve with pork loin

Pork loin is a leaner cut than some others like pork belly, so it works well with white wine. Try a Chablis, or even a light and fruity Beaujolais if you’re a red wine drinker.

A sticky pork dish

What wine to drink with Asian spiced pork?

If you’re cooking your pork with spices, then go for a clean, bright wine that will work with the flavours, rather than being overwhelmed by them – or vice versa. You want a wine that will complement those aromatic flavours of the dish, rather than become drowned out by them. Equally, you don’t want a wine so rich that you can’t taste the dish.

Choose a clean Sauvignon Blanc, a slightly spicy Gewürztraminer, or even a sparkling rose for a pairing that’s perfectly balanced. If you prefer red wine, Pinot Noir works well thanks to its deep fruit flavours and low tannins.

As you can see, there are endless possibilities when it comes to what wine to pair with pork. Whether you prefer red or white wines, sparkling or rose wine, there’s a wine and pork pairing for everyone. Rules are there to be broken, so don’t worry too much about the traditional thinking behind matching food and wine and simply go with whatever piques your interest.

Intrigued by wine and want to find out more from an expert? Take Jancis Robinson’s course, An Understanding of Wine, for in-depth insights into the world of wine, covering everything from wine tasting to investing in wine.

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