There isn't a single wine pairing for pork. Because pork can take on so many flavor profiles, the wines you pair with it will vary according to the preparation.
Simple roasted pork such as tenderloin, pork chops, or a pork shoulder with mild seasonings pair well with both white and red wines.
Pork has relatively mild flavors, so you'll want a light to medium bodied red wine. Excellent choices include a Pinot Noir or Burgundy wine. Sangiovese-based wines, such as a Chianti or a Brunello, also work well.
For a white wine, if you have roasted a fatty piece of pork, then you will need something with a lot of acidity, such as a Riesling or a Chenin Blanc. Likewise, if you think of foods that pair well with pork, such as apples, you can match that flavor profile in your wine. Toasty Chardonnay wines often have apple flavors, which will enhance the flavor or the roasted pork.
With its smoky yet sweetly earthy character, grilled pork pairs well with wines that have a similar flavor profile.
A smoky Grenache or Chateauneuf du Pape works really well as a red wine that holds up to the smokiness of grilled pork.
For a white wine, choose one that has toasty oak flavors, such as Chardonnay. Pinot Gris, with its bright acidity, works well for grilled fattier cuts such as pork belly.
Pork with sweet, vinegary, and smoky barbecue flavors presents a challenge, but there are still plenty of wines you can pair with it.
Try a Cotes du Rhone, which has a bold spicy taste that hold up well to pork. Another red to try is a Syrah or Shiraz based wine, either a varietal or a blend such as Shiraz-Viognier. If you choose a Shiraz, which is essentially a Syrah that comes from Australia, the jammy, juicy flavors will blend nicely with the spicy barbecue taste of the pork.
Light or White Wines
For a lighter wine, try a lovely dry Rosé, or sip on a brightly acidic but slightly sweet white such as a Riesling or a spicy Gewurztraminer.
Ham and Bacon
Ham and bacon tend to have sweet, salty, and smoky flavors.
Grenache works well with the flavors of these foods because it has its own earthy smokiness. Pinot Noir also has a hint of earth and smoke that works well with ham and bacon.
For a sweeter ham, try an acidic white such as a Chenin Blanc, or a wine with a balance of sweetness and acid, such as a Kabinett Riesling from Germany.
Spicy pork, such as sausage or spiced ham, works well with a spicy wine.
Zinfandel is a red wine that holds up remarkably well to heavy spices as it has quite a bit of spice by itself. Syrah or Shiraz is also a spicy wine that works well with the spicy flavors in the pork.
For white wines, it's important that you don't go too delicate or the flavor of the pork will overwhelm the wine. Once again, Riesling comes out a winner because it has bright acidity, sweetness, and spicy flavors. Try Rieslings from Germany or from the Alsace region of France, which have the brightest acidity.
As a rule of thumb in wine and food pairing, you want to match like flavors and heaviness in both the food and the wine, so that neither overwhelms the other. If you make other pork dishes, use the following guidelines to help you pair a wine.
- Cut fattiness with tannins or acidity. So for a very fatty piece of meat, choose a tannic read like a Cabernet Sauvignon or an acidic white such as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Serve white wines with creamy sauces.
- For spice, pair it with a similarly spicy wine, such as a Zinfandel or a Guwerztraminer. Alternatively, cut the spice with a sweeter wine like a Riesling or a jammy wine such as a Shiraz.
- Pair a red wine with a red sauce.
- Pair mushroom based dishes with earthy wines like Pinot Noir.
Enjoyable Wine and Pork Pairings
While there are many suggestions for pairing wine and pork, the best advice experts typically offer is this: choose a wine you love and pair it with a food you love. There are no absolute rules when pairing food and wine--what ultimately matters is your enjoyment of that pairing. Give the above pairings a try for a really enjoyable pork dinner.