Best Wine with Pork Ribs (and why)

When it comes to pairing wine with pork ribs, there are many options. The best ones are those that complement the sweet and savory flavors of the meat, as well as its sauce or glaze. Here’s a list of my favorite pairings.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is a great choice for pork ribs. It’s light, refreshing, and has a crisp acidity that cuts through the richness of the dish. Sparkling wine pairs well with pork because it has high acidity and therefore can cut through the fat in your mouth.

Why sparkling wine works so well

The texture of sparkling wine is a perfect companion to savory foods, including pork ribs. The bubbles in sparkling wine help to cleanse the palate and cut through the fat. This means that it can be a great match for dishes that are rich and creamy like ribs.

The acidity in sparkling wine also helps balance the richness of pork ribs by creating an overall flinty taste that cleanses your mouth after biting into those delicious morsels of meat.

Which Sparkling Wines should you consider?

There are lots of options for sparkling wines of course and most will work with your ribs. Champagne is the premium option and will work well but there is no need to be so extravagant with what is a modest meal choice. My recommendation would be to select a nice Prosecco or Cava. One of the following Proseccos is perfect for Pork Ribs:

Bottega ‘Gold’ Prosecco Brut

Critic tasting note: “Packaged in what looks like a solid gold bottle, this easy sparkler offers fresh acidity and clean fruit aromas. The gold packaging gives this particular bottle a sassy, luxurious competitive edge.” – 85/100Wine Enthusiast

Bisol Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG

Award tasting note: (2021 vintage) “Melon and pear drop foaming creation with a sweet edge and citrus balance.” – SilverInternational Wine Challenge

Masottina Prosecco di Treviso Brut

Prosecco isn’t generally expensive anyway but this one provides even more value. An absolute bargain gave the quality of the wine on offer.

Award tasting note: “Clean, fresh, floral notes with lovely lime and citrus flavors on the palate. – Panel Chair: Clive Barlow MW, Co-Chair: Oz Clarke” – BronzeInternational Wine Challenge

Pinot Noir

Also known as “pinot,” is a red wine from France. Pinot noir is made from red grapes and has a light body but a strong flavor.

Pinots are often lighter in color than other reds, with many coming out of the bottle with a pinkish hue to them. They tend to be more acidic than most other wines too, which makes them an excellent choice for pairing with pork ribs.

Why Pinot Noir works with Pork Ribs

Pinot noir, which comes from the Burgundy region of France, is a red wine that’s soft and fruity with jammy notes. This makes it a great match for pork ribs, which are tender and fatty. The reason it works with pork ribs is that the wine is light, which helps to cut through the fat in the meat. Pinot noir also has a high acidity level, which makes it tart and fruity. This cuts through the fattiness of pork ribs and gives them a nice balance of flavors that makes for an excellent pairing.

Pinot noir is found in many different styles (such as Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône), so there’s something to please every palate. I recommend the following:

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Grenache

Grenache is a red wine grape that is most commonly grown in France and Spain. It is also grown in other countries, including Australia and the United States. In fact, the second most widely planted variety for table wines behind Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache accounts for about 25% of all vineyard area planted with red grapes around the world.

The flavor profile varies depending on where it’s grown. Generally speaking, this grape has medium acidity with strong tannins that can have some bitterness if not balanced properly by sugar levels while making wine (which can happen if they don’t get enough sunshine).

Why Grenache works so well with Pork Ribs

The Grenache grape is a blend of grape varieties, with Grenache being the dominant component. The wine has a fruity quality that complements the sweetness of the sauce in barbecue ribs. What’s more, the tannins in Grenache help cut through the fat in a slab of ribs. The wine also has high acidity to balance out any sweetness that might be present in your sauce.

Both of these Grenache work well with pork ribs:

2016 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Chaupin

Critic tasting note: “Freshness and hints of violet, smoke, and earth elevate this full-bodied, plump yet pristine Grenache. Blackberry and cherry flavors are ripe and mouthwatering, edged by sunny acidity and a thrilling crush of minerals. The forward, juicy demeanor is irresistible already but tightly wound tannins should meld and improve It should peak through 2030. Anna Lee C. Iijima” – 97/100Wine Enthusiast

2019 Tardieu-Laurent Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Speciale

Critic tasting note: “Despite a hot, dry summer, this luminous Grenache conveys a breathless, ephemeral quality. Red-cherry and raspberry flavors are pure and piercing, accented by smoky, salty minerality and a lingering peppery finish. Enticing young, it should evolve gorgeously through 2040, likely further. Anna Lee C. Iijima” – 98/100Wine Enthusiast

Zinfandel

This red wine is a perfect match for your pork ribs. Known as the King of California, and a bottle will probably run you around $20. This red wine is from the grape of the same name, which means it pairs perfectly with some good old-fashioned barbecue.

Zinfandel is grown in many places around the world, including California, Italy, and Croatia. The spicy flavor of this bold varietal makes it perfect for pairing with meaty dishes like pork ribs.

Why Zinfandel works with Pork Ribs

Zinfandel is an excellent choice when it comes to pairing with ribs. This red wine can taste spicy, rich, and peppery. It can stand up to the heat of a bold barbecue sauce and complement that flavor profile. Zinfandel is also known for its bold fruit flavor. This wine can pair well with smoked meats because it has a similar smoky aroma. It’s perfect for pairing with pork ribs, especially if you’re using a sweet barbecue sauce. If you want something that will complement the spice of your ribs, try pairing Zinfandel with other bold flavors like cayenne pepper or chili powder.

Try one of these Zinfandels with your ribs for a safe pairing that you know will work:

Journeyman Wines, San Lorenzo ‘The Pearl’ Old Vine Red (Alexander Valley)

A floral bouquet with notes of tobacco and anise. This is a bold, full-bodied red

It has rich flavors of chocolate, with dark fruits and pepper. Velvet smooth mouthfeel and a tannic finish. Let it breathe before serving.

Hartford Family Winery Hartford Dina’s Vineyard Zinfandel

Hartford Russian River Valley Zinfandel presents aromas of ripe plum, blackberry, and black cherry. White pepper and allspice add complexity to this wine’s fruity bouquet. A burst of blueberry, raspberry, nutmeg, and chocolate flavors leads to a long-lasting finish.

Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2020

Another excellent Zinfandel from Russian River, California. 

Ruby-red in color. On the nose, it is bright cherry with aromas of blackberry and raspberry with notes of vanilla and tobacco. It is medium-full-bodied and very smooth on the palate. 

Chianti

Chianti is a red wine made from Sangiovese grapes in the Chianti region of Italy. It has been produced in this region since at least the 13th century and was originally used as an everyday wine. Today, it’s most often paired with food, like pork ribs.

When you pair Chianti with pork ribs, its fruity, slightly spicy flavor pairs well with the meat while complementing its tangy barbecue sauce. It also goes well with tomato-based pasta sauces and richly flavored stews or casseroles. So it’s also perfect with Lasagna.

Why Chianti works with Pork Ribs

To pair the wine with the pork, you will need to choose a red wine that is made using Sangiovese grapes. Chianti is an example of such a wine. It’s also worth noting that Sangiovese grapes are also used to make Chianti and many other wines.

Sangiovese has an herbaceous flavor. Think bitter greens like sorrel and parsley. These flavors pair well with pork and it also goes well with tomato-based pasta sauces.

Check out the following examples:

Vigna Graspoli 2018 – Lamole di Lamole

The wine’s color is deep ruby, and the nose gives off hints of violet, iris flowers, and berries. Aromatic herbs and sweet spices are also present. The taste is elegant with very fine tannins that give it a powerful but smooth finish.

Il Poggio 2017 – Monsanto Castle

Il Poggio Chianti Classico has a deep red color and an aroma that combines violet, black cherry, and spices. It tastes warm and rich with a long finish. It pairs well with a variety of grilled meats, stews, and aged cheeses.

Grand Selection 2019 – Brancaia

The color is deep ruby red. On the nose, it is extremely elegant with scents of wild fruits and cherry chocolate, licorice, and Caribbean cedar. The taste is rich and furrowed by precise and well-dissolved tannins. The finish is long.

Conclusion

When pairing wine with pork ribs, the most important thing to consider is how the taste of the wine will complement your meal. You don’t want to overpower your food with a heavy or overly acidic wine. This means that some types of wines work better than others when paired with pork ribs.

The most common red wine paired with this type of dish is Pinot Noir because it adds depth while still maintaining a subtle sweetness that will complement any sauce you decide on using (i.e., barbecue sauce).

Pinot Noir is a great option but my favorite with pork ribs is Prosecco. Its acidity cuts through the fat and cleanses the palate. I just love that combination!

If you want a sure-thing recipe then try Tasty.co‘s Slow Cooker Ribs. Some outstanding flavors and is pretty simple too.

If you enjoyed this article you might want to take a look at the Best Wine with Prime Rib, Best Wine with Pulled Pork, and the Best Wine with Short Beef Ribs