Pork roast is the main course for your next dinner event. You’ve heard suggestions for different sauces and herbs for the roasts, and plenty of delightful ideas for different wines. While many of these dishes and wine pairings sound enticing, there’s no way to enjoy them all in one sitting.
Here’s a look at your options for pork roast and the wines that best complement the rich flavors of each dish to help you make your decision.
What Makes a Pork Roast?
There’s a lot to consider when planning a menu where pork roast is the star. The most important thing to remember is that pork roast isn’t just one cut of pork. It’s much more variable, with several cuts of pork considered a "roast"—as long as the meat is cut into a larger portion and roasted in the oven.
Pork Cuts Used for Roasts
Different cuts of meat have their own nuanced flavors, which means plenty of options for pork roast and wine pairings.
Also called pork shoulder, Boston shoulder, or Boston butt, this cut of pork comes from the neck and upper shoulders. It has plenty of marbling and fat with bold flavors.
Sometimes, you see this cut of pork labeled as picnic ham, arm picnic, or—confusingly—pork shoulder. Like pork butt, it comes from the shoulder, but this time it is from the lower shoulder. This cut is more triangle-shaped and has slightly less marbling and fat than pork butt.
Cut from the front section of the pork loin, blade-end roast can come in bone-in and boneless cuts. Since it’s closest to the shoulder section, this cut has a bit more fat and marbling than the rest of the loin.
Center-Cut Rib Roast
Immediately beside the blade-end roast is where the center-cut rib roast comes from. This part of the pork loin is leaner, but the fat and bones lend it a richer flavor.
Center-Cut Loin Roast
The center-cut loin roast is equally lean and contains mostly muscle. It yields a tender texture and mild flavor when roasted.
Containing more working muscle than the rest of the pork loin, sirloin has a robust flavor and more marbling than the central cuts.
The tenderloin is the mildest and most tender of the pork loin cuts. Also, it’s a thinner cut and therefore a thinner roast, needing careful cooking to retain the natural juices.
Tips for Wine Pairing with Pork Roast
When you pair wine and pork roasts, you need to consider how the pork was cooked and which cut it comes from.
In general, fattier cuts of pork such as pork butt or picnic shoulder work well with moderate to light-bodied reds—the more acidic, the better. You also want to look for reds that have more savory than intense fruity notes.
Since pork naturally has some sweetness to it, it can’t handle bold, highly tannic reds like Syrah, Nebbiolo, or Cabernet Sauvignon. Warm-climate, tannic reds like Petite Sirah and Shiraz are also too overwhelming for pork roasts.
Leaner cuts, like those originating from pork loin, suit both light-bodied reds and light to moderate-bodied whites.
The leanest, mildest cuts of tenderloin follow the mantra of white with white. You have an excellent pairing if you match tenderloin with light-bodied acidic white wine.
Another factor to consider is the type of sauce or seasoning you’re adding to the roast. Most pork roasts have herbs, root vegetables, or dry rubs as a seasoning or accompaniment, but some recipes call for honey glaze or balsamic sauces, especially with tenderloin or pork loin.
When you add savory notes, make sure the wine complements or reflects back on those flavors. You want to match the wine to the sauce since it often becomes the strongest part of the flavor profile.
Roast Pork and Wine Pairing Recommendations
As you work on your dinner menu, consider the following five suggestions for wine and pork roast pairings that your guests will want to enjoy again and again.
1. Garlic and Rosemary Pork Loin Roast and Sauvignon Blanc
This dish with a leaner cut of pork uses plenty of fresh herbs and garlic. The savory notes blend well with the herbaceous, slightly zesty nature of Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine is also higher in acidity, and it marries well with the aromatic notes of the dish.
2. Sweet and Tangy Pork Roast and Gewurztraminer
The highly aromatic notes of Gewurztraminer make it a perfect pairing for the complex flavors of sweet and tangy pork. The slight amount of residual sugar gives the wine a hint of sweetness, blending smoothly with the sweetness in the sauce. The tanginess of the roast and sauce also makes a match for this spice-driven white wine.
3. Herb Gravy Pork Tenderloin Roast and Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio has enough versatility to marry well with a variety of pork dishes. Herb gravy pork roast is one such dish. The dry wine has excellent acidity and a lighter body, making it ideal for the more delicate nature of tenderloin as a whole. Pinot Grigio is also lightly floral and spritzy, and its subtle fruit notes bring out the savory herbs of the gravy.
4. Classic Pork Roast and Merlot
A more robust red wine is the perfect accompaniment to a classic pork roast with savory, earthy root vegetables. This dish uses a fattier cut of pork, so a moderate red enhances the flavors. A cool-climate Merlot has a more savory presence along with tart berries and earthy notes. It is an excellent match for roasted pork and roasted vegetables.
5. Maple Green Apple Pork Loin Roast and Chablis
Naturally acidic Chablis makes a good companion to a pork loin roast drizzled with maple syrup and tart green apples. This minerally wine is big on citrus notes, lending a certain zippiness to the flavor profile and a pleasing contrast to the dish.
As you can see, pork roast is far from "one dish fits all." Whether you want a sweet glaze, a tart sauce, or an earthy roast with pan juices, you have endless options for the perfect wine and pork roast pairing. We invite you to search through our online catalog to discover new wines and new flavor combinations.
If you’re interested in personalized assistance, contact us today and ask about our consultancy services. We’re ready to help you find the perfect wine.