Scottish Field wine columnist and drinks blogger Peter Ranscombe pigs out on five pairings in praise of pork.
FEW beasts are as versatile as the pig.
From pork and ham through to bacon and sausages, I’d find it almost as hard to give up the truly scrumptious creature as I would steak.
Pork’s versatility is also reflected in both its selection as the star ingredient in the March issue of Scottish Field magazine and in its wine matching options – from rounded rosés to bask in barbecued goodness through to a range of reds and even a white, this selection will hopefully stimulate some ideas for pork pairings…
La Moneda Premium Collection Merlot
This fruity Chilean merlot has the freshness to cut through the crème fraîche in the paprika pork dish. So many merlots from Chile fall into what I call “the vegetal trap”, when they smell like damp earth and taste like unripe green pepper – not attractive. There’s plenty of freshness in this example from Asda and lots of ripeness too, producing concentrated raspberry and plum flavours. It’s picked up a string of accolades, including silver at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge, and bronze at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
16 Little Black Pigs Rosé, 2017
An appropriately named South Australia pink wine made from grenache that’ll stand-up to barbecued pork dishes. Plenty of sweet raspberry jam, red plum and red cherry aromas on the nose and then a good balance between the tingling acidity and the intense yet not confected red fruit flavours. Winemaker Steve Grimley also keeps pigs, after which the bottle is named. Great value for a very versatile rosé. For more pretty pink ideas, check out my blog entry about why rosé is a wine for all seasons.
Andreas Bender Pinot Noir, 2017
Pinot and pork can be a perfect pairing, especially for Neil Forbes’ ham hock terrine. Pinot noir from Germany is often dismissed as tart and acidic, yet this example from the Pflaz region proves that if you get the right site then you can get delicious ripeness to the fruit to balance its acidity. Classic strawberry and raspberry flavours sit alongside richer red plum and spun sugar notes. When you think how little £18 will get you in Burgundy – or even Central Otago in New Zealand – then this becomes remarkably good value too.
Anysbos Grenache, 2016
Complex and enticing South African grenache, with the sweet notes to match David Hetherington’s bacon jam. The rich flavours in the belly pork dish require a wine with a little more oomph and so we’re stepping up a gear from pinot noir to grenache. Twenty months spent in French oak barrels has added a rounded mouthfeel and a hint of sweet cinnamon and spun sugar to the rich red plum flavours and the spicier clove notes. South Africa is a great place to go hunting for grenache, but I’d also add McLaren Vale in South Australia to the hit list.
Giovanni Rosso Etna Bianco, 2017
For a splash-out savoury white to celebrate roast pork with apple sauce, head for Sicily’s Mount Etna. Giovanni Rosso is best known as a Barolo producer but has also been making red and white wines at the other end of Italy on the island of Sicily since 2016. One of the most impressive white wines I’ve tried in a long time, with tonnes of lemon rind, dried apricot and salted almond flavours. The crisp acidity will work nicely with a Sunday roast, with the meatiness bringing out the minerality in the wine. For more on minerality, check-out my recent post on The Grape & The Grain, my drinks blog.
Read more of Peter Ranscombe’s blog entries about whisky, wine and other drinks on The Grape & The Grain at https://www.scottishfield.co.uk/grapegrain/