Dinner with close friends is always a special affair. Tonight we enjoyed Pork Tenderloin Cordon Bleau with mushrooms and mustard cream sauce. Pork tenderloin is one of the best pork cuts. For me, it is the “Chateaubriand” of pork. As for the wine …we paired our feast with a lovely white Burgundy … What? White wine with pork? Sacraledge! Or is it?
Though often referred to as the “other white meat,” what wines actually pair best with pork? Pork has undergone a huge change over the past few decades. In order to select the best wine with pork, the first thing we must take into consideration is preparation. If our pork has been roasted it, is only logical to pair roasted meats with red wines. However, let me be the first to challenge this rationale. A very nice Old Vine Chenin Blanc would pair very nicely. The secret is to serve the wine very cold. Step out of your comfort zone and try a wonderful wine from South Africa. The 2010 Tormentoso is only $14 a bottle and a good beginning.
In this article, I would like to focus on those white wines that are a perfect compliment to the other white meat. When pairing wines with dishes, I always take into consideration texture, sauces, and spices. Remember, our objective is to enhance and fully bring out the flavors of our meal. A popular dish in Lviv is pork with apple sauce. I have found that a Pinot Gris with good pear fruit like New Zealand’s 2012 Neudorf Maggies Block is very competative at $20 a bottle. Perhaps a toasty Chardonnay is more your palate. A 2009 MacMurry definitely enhances the dish’s flavors and is only $14 a bottle.
I am often asked what pairs best with sweet and sour pork (my family has a penchant for Cantonese cuisine) My sister is quick to grab for a Merlot Rose. However, my immediate thoughts are to go with an off dry Riesling. A 2011 Domaine Albert Mann Cuvee Albert at $30 should do nicely. Also consider a very elegant Chardonnay. My preference would be a 2010 Stag’s Leap Karia. The wine has excellent balance, minimal oak, and only $22 a bottle. Let’s not rule out a very fruity white such as a Colombard. A 2010 from France’s COX Vinyards is just $20 a bottle. A Semillon Chardonnay would also compliment the dish. A 2012 from Australia’s Jacob’s Creek is a classic pairing and a mere $13 bottle.
When it comes to garlic pork, it is best to go with fresh whites. An Arneis like a 2012 Cantina del Castello di Santa Vittoria from Piedmonte is an excellent choice at only $20 a bottle. Should Viognier better suit your palate, I’d recommend a 2012 Ruthglen Viognier. Even though this wine is from down under, it is priced competitively at $20 a bottle. With pork dumplings, a Riesling like Dreissigacker is a good go to wine. The 2008 Rhinehessen slightly favors the dry side, but I just love this great organic Riesling. It is priced at only $20 a bottle. Let’s be bold. Try a Spanish Torrontes. My reccomendation would be 2012 Vina Mein. Young and ready, it is a good buy at $20 a bottle. Argentina also produces some exceptional Torrontes. Piattelli Cayafete Premium is a lovely wine at only $15 a bottle. With spicy pork, the spice and light sweetness of a Gewürztraminer, like a 1999 Trimbach Cuvee des Seigneurs de Riaupierre at $30 a bottle will best compliment this dish.
As for herbal pork, a creamy Chardonnay with notes of apple, citrus, and oak won’t overwhelm the mild herbal flavors. Try a wonderful wine from California’s Russian River Valley, a Marimar Estate 2010 Acero Don Miguel Vineyard. At $30 a bottle, this unoaked Chardonnay exudes a creaminess that is unparalleled.
What about pork loin, you ask? An excellent choice would be from California’s Napa Valley. A 2009 Pinot Blanc from Robert Foley Vineyards is an ideal choice at $25 a bottle. If you are feeling Italian and musical, try a Prosecco. I have no doubt that our resident Prosecco enthusiast, Eve Bushman, can guide you to some wonderful selections. (Editor/Eve note: I’m no Prosecco enthusiast, however, when I make my Aperol Spritz I do tend to choose and inexpensive Prosecco.)
In Europe, we eat a lot of sausages. With pork sausage, to capture its flavors, it is best to go with a rich Pinot Gris. My first pick is a Trois Chateaux Kunz-Bas. It is rich, ripe, and incredibly luscious and only $25 a bottle. King Estate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the benchmark for this Oregon style of wine. The 2011 Domaine Pinot Gris is a worthwhile buy at $40 a bottle. A spicy Viognier like a 2010 Triennes Saint Fleur. At $20 a bottle, it is a wonderful buy. Aged Semillon is Australia’s gift to the wine world, and Hunter Valley produces some of the best. My pick would be a 2013 Brockenwood Semillon. At only $25 a bottle, it is sure to warm the cockles of your heart.
Moving right along, we come to some very traditional pork dishes like the classic pork chop. For this pairing I’d like you consider stretching your boundaries. Try a 2008 Inama Vin Soave Classico from Italy. This lovely white wine is 100% Garganega grapes, and is a perfect match that makes the meal fruitier and livelier.
Ever popular over the holidays and Sunday dinner with family, is the ham. It is important to remember that the wine’s fruit and acidity must must balance with the smoke and saltiness of the ham. Gewürztraminer is a safe choice. As is a Pinot Gris from Alsace, or even a Santa Barbara County Chardonnay from Melville. However, my pick would be a 2002 Basserman-Jordan Spatlese Pfalz Forster Jesuitengarten. This is a very good value at $25 a bottle. It is fortunate for us that they did not calculate the price by the length of the name.
Today we explored our pairing options with some very diverse wines from around the world. Once again I challenge you to think outside the box and expand your horizons. Like I always tell my sister, the worst that could possibly happen is that the pairing won’t be to your palate.
As for the wine we enjoyed with our tenderloin dinner. We selected a 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet Vielles Vignes from Domaine Vincent & Francois. At $50 a bottle, the wine was a perfect accompaniment to the evening.
Now if you really want to think outside the box, try a Mendocino, California Chardonnay. A 2010 Bliss Family Vineyard would be my next selection. This is a crisp and elegant wine that Grandpa Irv assures me is as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife. This gem of a wine is only $13 a bottle … “But that my friends, is a different story …”