Porchetta is a versatile pork meat that pairs best with medium-bodied but fruity red wines such as Côtes du Rhône, Chianti, Barbera, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Low tannin, high acidity and low oak are a must for Porchetta and red wine pairings. Porchetta is just as delicious with white wines, such as, Riesling, Trebbiano, Verdicchio, Soave and Greco di Tufo. Stick to lighter white wines, as a heavier oaked Chardonnay or aromatic Gewürztraminer will crush the mild taste of the pork. As Porchetta is heavily salted, I prefer lighter white wines with lots of acidity as they keep me refreshed.
Porchetta Abruzzese is a classic Italian dish made from slow-roasted pork that has been stuffed with garlic, rosemary, pepper and salt and cooked until the meat has caramelized. The final result is a savoury meat with a crispy skin that is delicious on its own, served in its natural juices, sprinkled on a pizza, or served on crusty bread with arugula or spinach. Regional variations differ where Porchetta may be stuffed with fennel, pig liver, lard, juniper, garlic and other herbs.
In Ontario, where I used to live, Porchetta is very popular and can be found at a variety of local sandwich shops and street trucks where it is served on sourdough bread, pagnuttini buns or calabrese rolls. In Ontario, we called it Porketta (or sometimes Porqueta) and it’s often spiced with dill instead of fennel, along with salt, pepper, and powdered garlic.
Best Wine with Porchetta
Aglianico del Vulture & Porchetta Pairing
Aglianico is an Italian red wine featuring rich flavours of blackberry, black cherry, plum, rose, smoke, dark chocolate and earth. The wine is a bit rough when young, however, when aged for about five years, expect a smooth wine high in acidity and tannin, making it an incredible delight with Porchetta. Aglianico can be full-bodied, which will be a little too much for Porchetta, however, if you find a medium-bodied Aglianico that hasn’t seen much oak – you’ll have a wonderful pairing on your hands.
Aglianico has plenty of spice and black pepper on the nose, complementing the variety of herbs and spices which might be used to season your Porchetta. While an aged Aglianico with Porchetta is preferred, the high protein and fat content of Porchetta can help soften the tannin in a young Aglianico, delivering a smoother red wine drinking experience. Furthermore, with a young Aglianico, you run the risk of crushing the subtle pork flavours.
The del Vulture attached to the end of Aglianico means its from the Basillicata region of Italy and when un-oaked, it’s perfect with Porchetta as the wine comes across as fresh and medium-bodied. If you unsure if your Aglianico is un-oaked, stick with a Sangiovese based red wine such as Chianti which I chat about below.
Chianti Classico & Porchetta Pairing
Chianti Classico is an earthy, spicy and fruity red wine from Tuscany that is exceptional with Porchetta. Primarily made from the Sangiovese grape, Chianti features refreshing flavours of cherry, strawberry and plum, which helps wash away the saltiness of Porchetta. Meanwhile, you get lovely notes of earth, herbs, spice, black tea, tobacco and coffee which complement the variety of spices or ingredients you might stuff your Porchetta with.
Chianti has high acidity, with medium-to-high tannin. Acidity with Porchetta is a must, as you need something refreshing and bright to deal with the salt and fat content. Meanwhile, the high tannin brings out the savoury flavours of Porchetta, as tannin naturally breaks down protein molecules, bringing out its best flavours.
Riesling & Porchetta Pairing
A off-dry Riesling has a kiss of sweetness that offers a nice counterbalance to the salty and savoury flavours of Porchetta. With Riesling, you can expect aromatic and crisp flavours of green apple, apricot, pear, pineapple and peach, which are always exceptional with pork. There are also hints of smoke, mineral, honey and spice, which deliver a touch of complexity to keep you engaged in this vibrant white wine.
Soave Classico & Porchetta Pairing
Soave Classico is a medium-bodied white wine with the perfect amount of boldness to stand up to roasted pork flavours without getting crushed by anything flavourful like dill, fennel or garlic. Known for its high acidity, Soave features rich and aromatic flavours of almond, apple, flowers, herbs, lemon, minerals, spice and pear. You also get a lovely lemon finish that helps wash away the saltiness and fattiness of Porchetta, ensuring your next bite tastes just as delicious.
If the wine is labeled Soave (without the Classico), expect a lighter white wine, more in the vein of Pinot Grigio. This pairing will still work, but it most instances it won’t be as bright as a Soave Classico.
Zinfandel & Porchetta Pairing
Zinfandel is a medium-bodied and bright red wine that comes off as slightly sweet due to its juicy flavours of blackberry, cherry, jam, raspberry, strawberry and plum. Medium in acidity and tannin, Zinfandel has the perfect balance to deal with the protein found in Porchetta, along with the salty fat flavours of this roasted pork dish.
Where Zinfandel shines with Porchetta is with its smoky and black pepper edge as these notes complement the savoury flavours of Porchetta. A reasonably-priced Zinfandel makes for the perfect night in for take-out Porchetta sandwiches. Stay away from pricier Zins as these will be much higher in alcohol and bolder in flavour, which will crush the delicate pork flavours.
If you want a less fruit-forward red wine, and something more authentic, try an Italian Primitivo which as a more herbal and less fruity version of Zinfandel.