Choose A Wine To Accompany Pork Dishes, Part I

It can be quite worthwhile to spend a little extra time, and perhaps a little extra money to match your wine and food. Let’s see what we can do with pork. Different cuts of pork ribs have different combinations of meat, bone, and fat, leading to different flavors and textures. Spare ribs contain more bone than meat and also quite a bit of fat which can make them more tender than back ribs. Classic wine pairings for barbecued pork spareribs include French Provencal Rose, a Riesling (perhaps from Germany), or a Tempranillo (perhaps from Spain). You might also consider a white Zinfandel or a Sauvignon Blanc. Take the barbeque sauce into account when choosing your wine.

Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole that traditionally comes southwestern France. It is chock full of meat (typically pork sausages, pork, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), and white beans. Classic wine pairings for this hearty dish include a French Beaujolais Cru and a Cabernet Franc, often from France. You might also choose a red Zinfandel, which probably won’t be from France.

Charcuterie is a prepared meat, generally from pork. Examples include sausages, hams, and pates. France is known for its great variety of chacuterie (it is a French word) but many other countries have excellent products. The classic wine pairing is a French Beaujolais Villages. You might also look at a French Julienas or Saumur. If I were eating Austrian charcuterie I would try to pair it with an Austrian red wine. And remember, Sauternes and Fois Gras are a classic combo.

Choucroute, more properly called choucroute garnie, is a famous Alsatian recipe for preparing sauerkraut with sausages or other charcuterie, and often potatoes. Every restaurant and cook has their own recipes, with their own cuts of pork, spices, and exact preparation method such as heating the sauerkraut in a dry white wine, preferably Riesling. The classic wine pairing is a dry Alsatian Riesling or Gewurztraminer.

Ham comes from the thigh and rump of a domestic pig or wild pig known as a boar. It is usually cured (either dry-cured or wet-cured). Some hams are double smoked instead of being cooked. Many countries including the United States are proud of their traditional ham preparations. The classic wine pairings for ham include Beaujolais, Riesling (probably German or Alsatian) and the French Vouvray. While I usuallly say when in doubt go with a fine Italian wine, I would hesitate to go Italian with dishes such as Choucroute and ham.

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