Pork and wine offer a myriad of possibilities

Pork tender loin with white wine mushroom pan sauce.

Pork is a very versatile meat when it comes to pairing with wine. Like many white meats, pork has relatively delicate flavours, but it is richer and more fatty than turkey or chicken. This opens up a myriad of possibilities in the kitchen. With so many ways to cook pork, it’s not surprising that a broad spectrum of wines can be used to pair with it.

Typically, pork recipes are most suitable for pairing with white wine. Pork’s intensity of flavour, subtle as it can be, begs for an equally subtle wine, yet the fat content needs good acidity to produce a balanced pairing. Alsace Pinot Gris, with its slightly spicy flavours and rich fruit, is an ideal pairing, but there are recipes that match with almost every white wine. Pork dishes often use wine within the recipe. A good rule of thumb is to cook with the wine you want to drink with the finished dish. This builds a flavour bridge between the pork dish and the wine.

Alsace Pinot Gris is  mentioned because the spicy notes in the wine work particularly well with the sweetness of pork. Other wines in that same spicy vein, such as Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Dry Muscat, would all be worth experimenting with when it comes to pork. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc each also work well with a myriad of pork dishes.

Pork is one of the most uneven meats when it comes to fat. Unlike beef, there is little marbling in pork. Instead, most of the fat is cover fat, so the amount of fat you find in any particular pork dish depends as much on the cut of meat as on how well that cut has been trimmed. With more fatty cuts, acidity is very important in producing a suitable wine pairing. Red wines with higher acidity are generally paired with pork, so think of Chianti, Zinfandel and Grenache-based wines. Grenache is a less acidic choice but it is also often a lighter-styled, fruitier type of red wine, like when it forms the backbone of a Cotes du Rhone. This is a very versatile style of wine that is happy to pair with many styles of preparation and seasoning when it comes to pork recipes.

LEFT: Grilled pork chops with red wine.

Pork Chop Recipes

Pork chops tend to be some of the more fatty cuts of pork and thus are the most flavourful, so it’s not surprising that they are also among the most popular. You can pan-sear, grill, braise or even fry pork chops, so there are many possibilities for pairing this delectable cut with a wide variety of wines.

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Baked Ham Recipes

Baked ham is a classic holiday dish and one that poses several problems for wine pairing. The ham on its own tends to be on the salty side of the flavour spectrum, and tradition dictates that it be coated in a sweet glaze, further complicating the situation. Let’s start with the salty component of the ham. Salt is one of the basic flavours we taste, along with sourness, bitterness and sweetness. Traditionally, we have found the pairing.

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Pork Loin Recipes

Pork loin is a delicate cut of meat. With its limited marbling, it requires a deft hand and gentle cooking method to produce the best results. When it is prepared well, a roasted pork loin typically has a rub of some kind that is applied to the sweet cover fat left on the loin to keep it from drying out. That rub and the sweet cover fat are the keys to successfully pairing a roasted pork loin with its ideal wine.

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(Source: SNOOTH)