Challenging Wine Pairing: Bacon

By LaGayle ~ August 10th, 2010.

Bacon? Isn’t that a breakfast item or perhaps a sandwich ingredient? For most people, that is the case; however, in our family, crispy bacon is an entree that we enjoy with our southern dinners—not just for breakfast or on a BLT. One of our favorite meals is bacon, black eyed peas, fried okra, corn on the cob, cole slaw, sliced tomatoes, watermelon as the salad, and cornbread.

What we are finding so enjoyable about this challenging wine pairing series is that there aren’t really any foods that cannot be paired with wine. It’s just a matter of determining which wine or wines work best.

Because this is a southern meal, most folks choose to drink iced tea or beer with it. But, why not have wine? Again, I referred to What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page for suggestions. I took into consideration the entire meal, not just the bacon, in selecting the wines for this challenge. After cross-referencing between the sections on bacon, corn, and cabbage (the main ingredient in the cole slaw), I decided on a dry Riesling and a Grenache. When possible, we like to feature both red and white wines in these challenges.

With this bacon meal, we enjoyed the 2009 Pikes “Traditionale” Dry Riesling from the Clare Valley of Australia and the 2008 K Vintners The Boy Grenache from the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State. Both wines are outstanding on their own, and both paired well with the meal. It was a close battle, but we preferred the dry Riesling three to one as the best pairing. Although, I believe that you couldn’t go wrong with either one, and it really depends on your mood on any given day and the time of year as to which you would prefer. On a gorgeous summer evening like we had, the crisp acidity of the dry Riesling was refreshing and contrasted the fat of the bacon, the fried okra, and the butter on the corn while complementing the acidity of the tomatoes.

When John mentioned on Facebook that we were going to be having this challenge with bacon, he received numerous pairing suggestions, including Aussie Shiraz, California Zinfandel, Riesling, and Cote Rotie. At that point, I had already selected the wines. However, we’d love for you to share in the comments what you would have paired with this meal. And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for challenging wine pairings for us to try in the future.

Bon Appétit!

2009 Pikes “Traditionale” Dry Riesling (Clare Valley, Australia): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Gorgeous nose with fresh aromas of lemon peel, lime, white peach, plumeria, and minerality. Lemon, lime, white peach, and a hint of grapefruit come through on the palate. Dry, light to medium-bodied, very crisp and refreshing with a long finish. Well-balanced and good complexity.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $17.99; Available elsewhere, $19

2008 K Vintners The Boy Grenache (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 92% Grenache, 8% Syrah. Deep, purplish red in color. Aromatic with earth, game, beef jerky, leather, and floral notes on the nose. Meat, game, earth, raspberry, and dewberry dominate the palate. Dry, medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish. Well-balanced and very complex.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $42.99; Available elsewhere, $38 to $56

Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, Grenache, Red Wine, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. rob newsom | August 10th, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Bring home the bacon!!!!

  2. Kori | August 10th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Oh, yeah! 🙂

  3. Jared | August 10th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Great wine pics!! I’ve been buying the Pikes riesling from Esquin since the 05 vintage. Love the tart lemon zest and the acidic punch. If you want to try an Australian dry riesling that is a tad more rich, give the Grosset Polish Hill a shot. It’s terrific! Also, love The Boy from K Vintners. You know, the grenache grapes for this wine come from Cayuse’s Armada Vineyard!!

  4. Erika Szymanski | August 15th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I’ll toss in my vote for the Australian shiraz as a natural bacon pairing. Shiraz is always one of my first thoughts with rich, salty foods: the salt seems to cut through the smoky, alcoholic heft of the shiraz while that same alocholic heft helps balance the richness. I never would have even considered the riesling but, now that you mention it, I can picture how the crisp, refreshing acidity of riesling could in turn cut through the richness of the bacon (like beer?) I’m looking forward to learning more in my food science classes about why some pairings work better than others; in the meantime, experimentation is a much more fun way of learning!

  5. Kori | August 26th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks! I’ll have to check out the Grosset Polish Hill.

    We love Australian Shiraz too. I’d imagine it would pair well with the bacon as well. Best of luck in your food science classes.