It’s Time to Talk Wine and Bacon

Two of life's greatest pleasures, wine and bacon, couldn't seem further apart. How would you pair the two? To find out, we turned to an expert on both.
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It’s cliché to say everything’s better with bacon, but it’s true. Bacon lands a direct hit on the brain’s comfort center. The mania of a few years ago has reached a more reasonable stride—we’re seeing fewer desserts focused on the cured meat, and bacon cologne, thankfully, never caught on. Now’s a good time to rediscover its versatility and, yes, sophistication.

“I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees.”

–Homer Simpson

Bacon can refer to cured pork from the belly, back or side. American bacon is cured pork belly that’s cold smoked and cooked before eating. While bacon-dominant dishes like BLTs and wedge salads are fantastic, treat it more as a supporting actor than the star.

Four Types of Salami and Wines to Pair With Them

How to Pair Wine with Bacon

Fahara Zamorano, sommelier at Gwen, a Los Angeles butcher shop and restaurant that makes its own charcuterie (and winner of Wine Enthusiast‘s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2017), advises pairing the whole dish, not just the bacon it employs.

“When bacon is in salads or pastas, white wine is the way to go,” she says. “Rich whites like Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc, German Riesling or Alsatian Pinot Blanc are all great options.”

For more bacon-forward situations, “you want the wine to cut smoke and richness, but also to complement the food, not just cleanse your palate between bites,” she says. Her preferences are dark rosés and light reds. Here are two to try.

Larmandier-Bernier Rosé de Saignée (Champagne). “A deep-colored, earthy and structured sparkling rosé.”

Manincor Kalterersee Keil Schiava (Alto Adige). “Light color and tannin, yet intense aromas of bacon, mushroom and forest floor, with secondary fruit and floral notes. This wine smells like cured meat, so no surprise it goes so well with it.”

Fun Facts

Kevin Bacon, indeed, loves bacon. His favorite sandwich is the BLAST: bacon, lettuce, avocado, smoked salmon and tomato.

The first bacon cheeseburger from a national chain was A&W’s Teen Burger, in 1963.

During World War II, households were asked to donate bacon grease. Its glycerin was used in explosives.

Molly Schuyler, at 5-foot-7, 125 pounds, set a Guinness world record when she ate five pounds of bacon in 5 minutes, 21 seconds.

The formula for bacon cologne was created in 1920 by a Parisian butcher named John Fargginay.

Published on June 30, 2017
Topics: Bacon, Wine Pairings
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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