Pork Chops have a neutral flavour that pairs best with wines that are light but offer ample amounts of fruit such as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Torrontés, Beaujolais Villages and Chardonnay.
Types of Pork Chops
Buying Pork Chops can be confusing as there are so many styles. There’s Loin Blade Chops, Center Cut Rib, or Loin Chops, and they all differ in tenderness. You’ll also find Shoulder Blade Chops (also known as Boston Butt Steak), Rib Chops, Sirloin End, Fore Loin, Middle Loin, and Loin Sirloin Chops. A lot of the terminology is regional (and amped up with Marketing flair), which further adds to the confusion. However, I’ve done my best to simplify the most common Pork Chops you’ll come across.
Loin Sirloin Chops
The most tender and expensive pork chops are cut from the pig’s long loin and rib sections. Here you’ll find the Loin Sirloin Chop, which are lean, tender and flavourful, but should never be overcooked as they dry out easily. Loin Sirloin Chops require a lighter flavoured wine like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais-Villages to pair up with it as you never want to overpower the subtle flavours.
Loin Blade Chops
The loin blade chop has more fat and connective tissue than loin sirloin chop, but they are also much chewier, making them inexpensive. Loin Blade Chops often require marinating or brining to help improve the chewiness.
You’ll also find rib chops that have more fat, which means they are less likely to dry out. The Rib Chop is still lean but has a layer of fat on one side that helps keep it moist. Rib Chops have one large eye and with the rib bone still attached and are great grilled, broiled or pan-fried.
Shoulder Blade Chops
Finally, Shoulder Blade Chops are fattier but tougher as they contain a lot of connective tissue. The higher fat content gives Shoulder Blade Chops the most flavour out of all the pork chops. However, since they are tough, Shoulder Blade Chops are best served braised. These are the cheapest and smallest chops available.
Pork Chop Cooking Variations
For this pairing guide, we are going with simple preparations of Pork Chops. Like a Pork Chop pan-fried and sprinkled with salt or a few herbs. In this instance, and when not overcooked, the Pork Chops should taste slightly sweet and savoury and satisfying with a juicy texture. Due to fears of bacteria and getting ill, many people overcook their Pork Chops, making them taste bland. Pairing with light but fruity wines helps mask the dryness of your Pork Chops as you are introducing some refreshing acidity to the mix.
To get around this overcooking their Pork Chops, many people often bread their Pork Chops and pan fry it in oil. This breading process helps ensure that your Pork Chops won’t dry out and adds extra flavour with the breading and grease. All of the pairings we mention below will go well with breaded Pork Chops, however, I find that crisp and acidic white wine such as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc tastes best as they help cut through the grease and breading.
Adding a sauce to your Pork Chops also complements matters, and a wine should always be selected to match the sauce and not the Pork Chop. Fortunately, you can use our food and wine pairing database to help you narrow down your choice in wine to select. All you need to do is type in the dominate ingredient and flavour, and the database will report on some fantastic wine choices.
Best Wine with Pork Chops
Pinot Noir Matched & Loin Pork Chops Pairing
Pinot Noir is the best red wine to pair with Pork Chops as you have a light but subtlety earthy red wine. Bright with silky flavours of strawberry, raspberry and cherry, Pinot Noir adds a refreshing contrast to the savoury but slightly sweet flavours of a Loin Pork Chop. The velvety acidic nature of Pinot Noir also heightens the subtle Pork flavours, making them taste more pronounced and delicious. With low to medium amounts of tannin, Pinot Noir will never overpower the tender flavours of your pork chop.
Meanwhile, the earthy flavours of Truffle, Smoke, and mushroom zero in on the earthy flavours you may find in your pork chop, complementing the dish. If you’ve grilled your Pork Chops, Pinot Noir is even more delicious, as you’ll find hints of dark chocolate, smoke and tobacco, which mesh beautifully with any charred flavours.
While I give this pairing four out of five-star pairings, I put it as the best red wine to pair as Pinot Noir is easily accessible and can be found easily. Unfortunately, good Pinot Noir is expensive, and there are a lot of tempting value-priced Pinot Noir’s on store shelves that will be okay with Pork Chops, but not amazing. Understanding what makes Pinot Noir so remarkable also takes a lot of time and effort. So if you are new to wine and food pairing, a well-produced Pinot Noir (that’s going to cost you $40 or more) might be wasted on your palate as you haven’t learned what to look for. Meanwhile, a $20 bottle of Pinot Noir won’t win you over either, as it’s going to taste cheap, artificial and perfumed like candy, which is everything real Pinot Noir isn’t.
Rib Pork Chops & Zinfandel Pairing
While Rib Pork Chops are fatty, they as bold as a thick and juicy NY Strip Steak. Thus, you don’t want a wine packed with a lot of tannin to pair with Pork Chops as it will crush the meat’s tender flavours. Instead, you want a red wine like Zinfandel which features jammy berry flavours, a touch of smoke and a zippy amount of acidity. This style of Zinfandel will cost you around $25. Once you hit the $40 range, you’ll venture into monster truck Zinfandels which are syrupy fruit bombs that would destroy your pork chops, so be sure to stay away from those.
The ripe flavours of blackberry, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and plum that Zinfandel feature makes the dry wine taste slightly sweet, which complements the sweet pork flavours. The fruitiness also offers a refreshing contrast to the savoury flavours of your pork chops. You’ll also find hints of black pepper, smoke, vanilla and chocolate in Zinfandel which makes it exceptional with grilled Rib Pork Chops.
Finally, if you’ve overcooked your Pork Chops, a juicy glass of Zinfandel will save the day. Zinfandel’s high acidity helps balance the scale against the tougher nature of your overcooked chops due to the refreshing jammy flavours it provides.
Torrontés Paired & Pork Chops Pairing
Torrontés is a full-bodied Argentinian white wine that has aromatics and flavours of flowers, peaches, lemon, mineral, coriander and citrus. Sweeter styles of Torrontés exist, but for pairing with pork Chops, you’ll want the drier style, which often goes under the guise of Torrontés Riojano. While Torrontés is full-bodied, it’s not so bold that it will swamp out the tender flavours of your Pork Chops.
Torrontés is also high in acidity, which brings out the flavours of your Pork Chops even further. Often under $15, Torrontés is a good match with all cuts of Pork Chops if you are craving a white wine. Fresh, rich and round, you’ll love all the notes of apple, honey, jasmine, lemon zest, lime, lychee, orange, oregano, spice and tropical fruits this white wine delivers.
Beaujolais Villages & Loin Blade Pork Chops Pairing
Loin Blade Pork Chops are inexpensive but also tougher than a regular loin Pork Chop. Thus, they are often marinated, before being grilled, broiled or pan-fried. I feel Beaujolais-Villages makes a good match for Loin Blade Pork Chops as it is a versatile and acidic red wine. Because Loin Blade Pork Chops are inexpensive, they are frequently purchased and experimented with. You might try cooking in different ways, with different sauces or breading it, and Beaujolais-villages will always pair well.
With Beaujolais-Villages, expect lively notes of cherry, raspberry and strawberry to provide plenty of refreshment. Beaujolais-Villages also delivers subtle flavours of black pepper, earth, mushroom, and spice if you are looking for something deeper. We also mention some Beaujolais Cru that will go even better with your Pork Chops in the chart above. These are a step up from Beaujolais in quality and bolder flavours but are harder to track down in North America as they are often imported once a year and sell out instantly.
Full-Bodied Chardonnay & Grilled Pork Chops Pairing
I love apple sauce with my grilled Pork Chops, but sometimes apple chops are not available when I go to a restaurant. In this instance, I’ll often request a glass of Chardonnay, which features notes of apple, citrus, pineapple and peach, which are delicious with Pork Chops. If you only want these fruity flavours, request an unoaked Chardonnay or a Chablis. However, not every restaurant will offer this by the glass, unfortunately.
While I love the vibrant green apple flavours of Chablis, I much prefer a full-bodied and oaked Chardonnay with Pork Chops. Oak introduces some flavours of vanilla, toast, caramel, butterscotch and smoke that all complement the charred flavours of Grilled Pork Chops. Meanwhile, you still get those delicious apple and pineapple notes that contrast the savoury pork flavours.
I wouldn’t go overboard with your Chardonnay as you don’t want something too oaked or inexpensive. Certain Chardonnay producers often use chemicals and oak chips to make their wines taste like perfumed vanilla and butter, which is popular and sells well, as they can keep prices low. You might enjoy this style, and that’s okay, more power to you, however, once your tastes mature, you’ll quickly discover how well-balanced and delicious authentic Chardonnay tastes, and you’ll never want to turn back.