What Wine Goes With Pork Belly? Everything You Need To Know

Pork belly has become a staple on restaurant menus, and for good reason. When cooked to perfection, it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, making it a mouth-watering dish.

But what wine should you pair with this indulgent cut of meat? With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the perfect bottle. Fear not, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best wine pairings for pork belly, from dry German Rieslings to cool-climate Pinot Noirs. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of wine and pork belly.

What Wine Goes With Pork Belly?

When it comes to pairing wine with pork belly, there are a few things to keep in mind. Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat, so you want a wine with high acidity to cut through the richness and refresh your palate. Additionally, if your pork belly is served with sweet or spicy sauces, you’ll want a wine that can complement those flavors without overpowering them.

One popular choice for pairing with pork belly is dry German Riesling. The crisp acidity of the Riesling complements the fattiness of the pork, while the intense peachy fruit can stand up to the strong flavor of the dish. Look for a Spätlese Riesling with a “Trocken” label on the bottle for a dry option with a higher level of alcohol.

If you prefer red wine, consider a lighter style like Pinot Noir from cool-climate regions like Sancerre or Jura. These wines have enough acidity to cut through the fat of the pork belly while also providing a fruity and earthy flavor profile that complements the dish.

For those who prefer something other than wine, there are other options to consider. Medium-dry cider is a classic pairing with pork and works especially well with pork belly. The sweetness of pear cider (perry) can also complement the dish, as can heavily hopped American pale ales with a touch of sweetness.

Understanding The Flavors Of Pork Belly

To fully appreciate the flavors of pork belly, it’s important to understand its unique characteristics. Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat that has a rich, unctuous flavor. The layer of fat that surrounds the meat is what gives it its distinctive taste and texture. When slow-cooked, the fat breaks down and enrobes the meat, resulting in a succulent and flavorful dish.

The taste of pork belly can vary depending on whether it’s served with the skin on or off. With the skin on, pork belly has a snappy exterior that provides a salty crunch to offset the moist and rich meat. Without the skin, pork belly is still delicious but lacks that textural contrast.

The marinade used to prepare pork belly also has an impact on its flavor. Bright and fresh ingredients like citrus, herbs, scallions, lettuce, and cucumber are often used to offset the richness of the meat. Spicy or sweet sauces can also be paired with pork belly to enhance its flavor profile.

Dry German Rieslings: A Match Made In Heaven

Dry German Rieslings are a match made in heaven when it comes to pairing with pork belly. The wine’s crisp acidity cuts through the richness of the pork, while the intense fruit flavors provide a refreshing complement to the dish.

One of the key features of dry German Rieslings is their versatility. They pair well with a range of pork dishes, from sizzling roast pork belly to high-fat pork chops and sausages. The wine’s acidity also works well with fatty sauces, making it a great option for those who like to serve their pork with a rich and flavorful sauce.

Dry Riesling wines also have a good level of sweetness, which can be particularly appealing when paired with spicy pork belly. The sweetness of the wine can help to offset the heat of the dish, providing a refreshing contrast that enhances the overall flavor profile.

It’s worth noting, however, that not all cuts of pork are well-suited to pairing with Riesling. Leaner cuts like pork tenderloin or roast pork loin may not provide enough richness to stand up to the intensity of the wine. Similarly, sweet wines like Riesling should be avoided when pairing with pork dishes that are already sweet, such as honey-glazed pork belly.

Fruity And Light Red Wines: A Refreshing Contrast

If you’re looking for a refreshing and fruity wine to pair with pork belly, consider a light-bodied red wine. These wines have a lower tannin content and higher acidity, making them a great contrast to the rich and fatty flavors of the pork belly.

One popular light-bodied red wine is Grenache. With its fruity and spicy flavor profile, Grenache pairs well with pork belly dishes that have a touch of sweetness or spice. Another option is Pinot Noir, which is known for its elegance and complexity. This versatile wine has fruit, flower, and spice notes, predominantly cherry, earth, and warming spices, making it a great complement to the flavors of pork belly.

If you’re looking for something a little different, try Beaujolais. Made from Gamay grapes, this light-bodied red wine has a bright and fruity flavor profile that pairs well with pork belly dishes that have a touch of acidity or tartness.

Cool-Climate Pinot Noirs: A Perfect Balance

When it comes to pairing wine with pork belly, cool-climate Pinot Noir is an excellent choice. These light-bodied red wines have a perfect balance of acidity and fruitiness that can cut through the richness of the pork belly while also complementing its savory flavors.

Pinot Noir grapes are quite specific in their growing conditions, requiring cool temperatures and a level of rainfall exposure. This specificity results in a wine that is unique in its flavor profile and structure. Pinot Noir wines are known for their ability to age well and develop more complex flavors over time.

Cool-climate Pinot Noir from regions like Sancerre or Jura are particularly well-suited for pairing with pork belly due to their bright acidity and earthy undertones. These wines can bring out the best in the dish, enhancing its flavors without overpowering them.

When selecting a Pinot Noir to pair with pork belly, look for a wine that is light-bodied with low tannins. These characteristics will allow the wine to complement the dish without overwhelming it. Additionally, consider opting for a wine that has been aged for at least a few years, as this will allow it to develop more complex flavors that can further enhance the dish.

Full-Bodied Reds: Bold Flavors For Bold Dishes

If you’re looking for a bolder wine to pair with your pork belly, consider a full-bodied red. These wines have intense flavors that can stand up to the richness of the pork belly and complement its savory flavors. Here are some of the best full-bodied reds to pair with pork belly:

1. Syrah/Shiraz: This full-bodied red wine has moderate to high tannins and a spicy flavor profile that pairs well with pork belly dishes that have a smoky or spicy flavor. Look for a Syrah from the Northern Rhône region of France or a Shiraz from Australia.

2. Cabernet Sauvignon: While this bold red wine can be overpowering for some dishes, it can be an excellent pairing for pork belly when served with a bold sauce or seasoning. Look for a Cabernet Sauvignon from California or Chile.

3. Malbec: This full-bodied red wine has a fruity flavor profile with notes of blackberry and plum that can complement the savory flavors of pork belly. Look for a Malbec from Argentina or Chile.

4. Zinfandel: This bold red wine has a high alcohol content and intense flavors of blackberry, cherry, and spice that can stand up to the richness of pork belly. Look for a Zinfandel from California or Italy.

When pairing full-bodied red wines with pork belly, it’s important to consider the seasoning and sauces used in the dish. A heavily spiced or smoky dish may pair well with a bolder wine, while a milder dish may be better suited to a lighter style like Pinot Noir or dry Riesling. Experimenting with different wine pairings can lead to some delicious discoveries and enhance your dining experience.

Sparkling Wines: A Celebration Of Flavor And Bubbles

When it comes to celebrating with pork belly, there’s no better way to do it than with a glass of bubbly. Sparkling wines are a perfect match for pork belly due to their high acidity and effervescence, which help to cut through the richness of the dish and refresh your palate.

Champagne is a classic choice for pairing with pork belly due to its biting acidity and fine bubbles. However, if you’re looking for something different, Prosecco or a red sparkling wine can also be excellent options. Just make sure to choose a Brut-to-Extra Dry style to balance the sweetness of the dish.

If you’re unsure about which sparkling wine to pair with your pork belly, an infographic can be a helpful tool. It takes years of experience for a sommelier to be able to pair wine with food effortlessly, but an infographic can provide some guidance for those still learning. Download an image and keep it for future reference to help you navigate the world of bubbly.