Roast pork, slow-roasted pork shoulder
When you’re enjoying the succulent, sweet flavours and juicy tender texture of roast pork, along with the crunchy richness of crackling, make an immediate beeline for white wines with a bit of body and flavour.
First on the list is Chardonnay, with peachy, stonefruit and citrus flavours singing beautifully with the pork. Chardonnay from warmer wine regions like the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and parts of Victoria will give you more of the tropical fruit spectrum, and if oak-matured may also deliver nice butterscotch and caramel notes. Cool-climate Chardonnay will bring more vibrant flavours of white peach, nectarine and citrus, with a finer line of acidity offering a more refined palate. Other white wines that match well with roast pork are Pinot Gris (look for wines labelled ‘Gris’ rather than ‘Grigio’ for those made in a French style with a little more fruit flavour), Verdelho, and top-end Sauvignon Blanc with a little more character and complexity than everyday-drinking styles.
Red wine lovers needn’t feel left out. Even though pork is a white meat, its versatility – and the combination of sauces, crackling and accompaniments – means it can work just as well with red wines. Choose an aromatic, savoury Pinot Noir, a Spanish-style Garnacha (Grenache) or Tempranillo or a spritely Italian Sangiovese or Chianti. As the roast pork is quite sweet and delicate, avoid heavy reds like warm-climate Shiraz or Cabernet which may tend to taste out of balance with the meat.
The richness, spice and flavour of slow-cooked pulled pork really needs a bold, flavoursome wine to work in harmony with the flavours. But nothing too big.
Choose wines with plenty of fresh, bright fruit flavour like Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Sangiovese or easy-drinking Merlot and Merlot blends.
Pulled pork dishes can work well with white wines, preferably those with enough acidity and fresh fruit to cut through the flavours of the pork: Semillon-Sauvignon Blends, Riesling, Semillon, Verdelho and Arneis would all be good choices.
Barbecued sticky pork ribs
Quite often, pork ribs are marinated in many ingredients including beer before being slow cooked until they’re sweet, sticky and falling off the bone. This richness calls for equally rich, flavoursome wines to help cut-through the unctuous richness of the pork. Our first recommendation would be brightly flavoured, young red wines like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Grenache (and Grenache blends, GSM), Merlot or a bold, ripe Nero d’Avola from Italy. To strike a happy medium between white and red wine, a Rosé, full of crisp cherry-like flavours and tangy acidity, would give you a great match with pork ribs. If you’re reaching into the fridge, choose lighter-bodied, crisp whites Pinot Grigio, Semillon, Riesling, cool-climate Chardonnay or even a sweet, spritzy Moscato.
There’s nothing more traditionally English than sitting down with a (cold) pork pie and a pint of bitter. But we love to reach for a glass of wine. The slow-cooked, jellied pork with its flavours of herbs, seasoning and spices, responds well to wines with reasonably high acidity, which helps cut through the fattiness. A fresh, zesty white like Riesling or a Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend from Western Australia is a good match. You could do well matching with a fuller-bodied white wine such as oaked Chardonnay or luscious Viognier.
Pork chops with apple sauce
Pan-fried pork chops with apple sauce make such a quick and easy meal, and you can lift the dish to whole other level with the perfect wine. The obvious, and smartest, choice would be a refined, elegant cool-grown Chardonnay with intensely piercing citrus and stone fruit characters.
Whites with similar weight that would work well with pork chops include Arneis or a French White Burgundy – unoaked Chardonnay with grilled nut and peach flavours.
Pork and fennel sausages
The unmistakable aroma of Italian pork and fennel sausages, whether cooked whole or crumbled into a pasta sauce, will deliver delicious results when paired with red wines – the rich, herbal almost medicinal notes of the fennel work well with red wines. A great choice would be cool-climate Shiraz, with its blackberry and cherry flavours carried by hints of black pepper and brown spices on the palate. Cabernet Sauvignon with a few years’ bottle age, allowing the tannins to soften and integrate, will reward with a combination of soft richness in the wine carrying the fat and flavour of the sausages.
White wines that could work well with sausages include Pinot Grigio, with the right acidity and crispness to contrast with the texture of the meat, and aromatic, crisp Riesling, Gruner Veltliner or a sweeter-style Gewurtztraminer.
Wines that work well with curries need to have plenty of bright fruit and soft tannins or crisp acidity. Match the weight, texture and flavour intensity of the food to the weight, texture and intensity of the wine – white or red. Aromatic, bright reds such as Grenache, cool-climate Shiraz or a fresh, young Pinot Noir. Rosé is a perfect match for curries, bringing the crisp freshness of crushed berry flavours with a laser-sharp line of crispness that ties everything together.
Stir fried pork
Flash-frying pork with vegetables, seasoning and sauces creates light, flavoursome dishes with nice crunch in the vegetables and tender, juicy pork that carries the flavours of the sauces. Wine matches for stir-fried pork can be based on the intensity of the flavours. For dishes in a spicy Thai style with chilli and basil, turn to white wines with a touch of residual sugar like Moscato, Gewurtztraminer and sweeter-style Rieslings. Rosé is a smart choice for curries, with the right balance of fruit flavour, crisp acidity and texture.
Glazed ham and ham off the bone
At Christmas time, when the glazed ham is brought to the table, open a bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine – white or red – for a superb match. The sweetness of the glaze and the meat will work beautifully with the crispness and bubbles in the sparkling wine. Another fine choice is Rosé – not only do the crisp, tangy berry flavours of the wine work a treat with ham off the bone, but the vibrant pink colour complements the pink colour of the ham. Red wines can work well with ham, just pick those without too much power or tannins to ensure the fruitiness works with the delicate meat. Choose a red like Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and enjoy the combination of fruit-filled wine and delicious sweet ham.