Which wine pairs best with pork?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Which wine goes best with pork?

—Pat, Dover, Del.

Dear Pat,

My first rule of pairing food and wine is to eat and drink what you like. Beyond that, it’s useful to think about either matching or contrasting flavors, weights and textures and balance the intensity of the food and the wine.

That means that as with most foods, what you pair with pork depends on how it’s prepared and what it’s served with. Pork can mean anything from ham or bacon to tenderloin, chops or grilled ribs. That means the range of wines that pair with pork can range from crisp whites to lighter reds, medium-bodied reds or even rosés. I will say that outside of pork belly and sausages, most pork is considerably leaner than red meat, which means young, bolder tannic reds will typically not be a great match.

My favorite pairings with pork include Rieslings for spicy or Asian preparations, or even salty, smoky ham or bacon. For something grilled or barbecued, I’d reach for a Grenache or a zesty Zinfandel. Light reds like Beaujolais and Pinot Noirs would be a good match for leaner cuts like chops or tenderloins, maybe even a Chardonnay with a creamy or buttery sauce. Rosés are also extremely versatile with pork, their light body and crispness will pair with many preparations.

—Dr. Vinny

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