When it comes to pairing wine with pork, you can go with both white and red varieties. However, some wine pairings go better with different cuts of pork.
For chefs like me, pairing wine with pork dishes is just as important as choosing the right ingredients. There are three main factors that I consider before choosing a wine for pork:
The cut of the pork and the preparation method determines how much fat is in the dish. If you are serving the pork with a sauce, such as creamy sauce, that too affects the fattiness. Therefore, the wine pairings you pick must complement this flavor profile without overwhelming the taste of the meat.
Confused? The list below will help you pick the best wines for a great pork-centered meal:
German Riesling is a highly versatile white wine that goes well with pork. The crisp acidity of the dry Riesling complements the fattiness of pork.
I particularly recommend a Riesling with sizzling roast pork belly, high-fat pork chops, or pork sausages. The wine's acidity cuts through the fat and delivers a rich taste profile. Riesling white wines are great when you are serving fatty sauces with your pork.
Dry Riesling wines have a good level of sweetness. So if your pork belly is spicy with ingredients like black pepper, guests will appreciate how sips of Riesling can refreshingly offset the savory profile.
On the other hand, it's best not to pair Riesling wines with leaner cuts of meat like pork tenderloin or roast pork loin. Additionally, sweet wines like Riesling shouldn't be paired with pork dishes that are already sweet, such as pork belly with honey glaze.
Similarly, I would advise against pairing Riesling with certain sauces like barbecue sauce, which can be quite sweet and tangy just like the wine.
Pinot Grigio, aka Pinot Gris, is the go-to wine for pork tenderloin. This white wine is known for its delicate and refreshing taste. It is also a fruit-forward wine with strong hints of lemon and green apples.
The bright acidity and light body of Pinot Grigio goes well with the delicate nature of carefully cooked pork tenderloin. Its fruitiness can deliver excellent punchiness with herbs in pork dishes as well.
Pinot Gris is a wine with grilled pork belly, pork shoulder, any type of pork tenderloin, and pork roast as well. The acidity matches the fattiness of these cuts of pork really well.
If you're serving your pork with sides like apples, I recommend going with Gris.
Condrieu Viognier is famously served with seafood. However, this white wine pairs quite well with pork dishes too, especially if cooked with herbs.
Like with Riesling wines, Condrieu Viognier wine pairing works best with moist and high-fat cuts of pork. I choose the Condrieu Viognier blend over Riesling whenever herbs like rosemary are a central aspect of the pork dish.
The acidity of the wine and the aroma of the herbs are an excellent pairing for pork. Also, the Condrieu Viognier blend is served chilled. So it's great for pork dinners or barbecues during the summer.
Everyone's favorite white wine goes best with roasted pork cuts sizzling with fat. Chardonnay is an excellent match for slow cooked pork loin, roast pork shoulder, and even pork tenderloin served with creamy sauces.
Dishes like pork loin are cooked for a longer time, so these recipes tend to be sweet and aromatic. As this cut of pork comes from a tender part of the pig, a fruity and juicy wine like Chardonnay works really well.
Hardcore wine enthusiasts often ask me if they should pick oaked or unoaked Chardonnay for pork. This is a hard question to answer because the taste of oaked Chardonnay can vary between wine brands.
In general, oaked Chardonnay has a robust profile compared to the leaner unoaked version. So, I much prefer pairing pork with oaked Chardonnay. The buttery, toasty taste of oak in this white wine well complements the fattiness of pork roast and roast pork tenderloin.
However, if you really like unoaked Chardonnay, there's nothing wrong with choosing that. The mild taste of unoaked Chardonnay is a good pairing for pork chops.
Pork chops aren't particularly fatty but they aren't lean like turkey either. Taste-wise, this is the neutral zone. So you can rely on a medium bodied white wine like Chardonnay to make pork chops tasty without too much acidity that undercuts the meat.
While not the most famous wine in its family, the pinot blanc is a solid accompaniment with leaner cuts of meat, such as pork tenderloin. The pinot blanc is a mutated variety of the more famous noir.
This wine is dry, but juicy with hints of peach. In other words, it's the exact type of mild white wine that you can comfortably pair with tender cuts of pork.
I included Pinot blanc here because it is a refreshing alternative to Chardonnay. Most home dinners I attend serve Chardonnay with pork tenderloin and similar cuts. Pinot blanc, in my opinion, is a much better option for those who want to offer something different while still maintaining a fantastic flavor profile.
I once had the opportunity to attend an event called "Pigs & Pinot" with a master sommelier. It was pretty much an entire festival dedicated to pairing pork with pinot noir varieties. Yes, that's just how popular pinot noir is as a pork wine.
What makes this particular red wine so perfect for pork is that its acidity levels and medium body complement both lean and fatty cuts. Pinot noir is probably the best red wine for mild tasting dishes like pork chops, pork tenderloin, suckling pig, and pulled pork.
As a rosé wine, Pinot noir is dry (or bone dry if the bottle is particularly old). This works so well with fatty cuts of pork with high marbling like pork butt. As one of the top crisp tannic reds, Pinot Noir is a safe bet even for pork tenderloin with sweet sauces.
The highly robust and fruity Zinfandel is an excellent red wine pairing for pork or any type of meat. Zinfandel red combines slightly sweet and zippy flavors that goes well with the tender texture of pork roasts, pork tenderloin, or smoked pork.
The richness of Zinfandel is great when pork is cooked with a lot of spices, or strong ingredients like garlic. I even paired Zinfandel with pork curry once. The result was simply divine.
Plus, Zinfandel is a relatively cheap wine, making it easy to have at hand for regular pork dinners.
Malbec is famous for its berry and plum flavors. One of the popular medium tannic reds, Malbec pairs well with any cut of pork. However, this full-bodied red is paired best with pork roast or roasted pork tenderloin.
Malbec is made from a purple grape variety brimming with tannins. In other words, you can expect a complex flavor profile from this wine. It will bring out the earthy and smoky taste in pork roast or grilled pork tenderloin.
While Malbec may not be an adventurous wine as Pinot noir, it's a robust red wine with pork that you can reliably pair with many types of cuts.
There you have it; the best wine options to pair with pork. As mentioned, always consider the cut and cooking method for pork when choosing a wine. Don't neglect the accompaniments you serve with the dish, such as herbs or sauce either.
Just remember not to sweat over whether to pick a white or red wine. Both work well as long as you choose the right texture for the cut. Hopefully, now you know exactly which wine to pair with pork next.