Pairings: Savory Sausage

The right reds and whites intensify a flavorful sausage.

Bratwurst and beer. The alliterative quality of the phrase is enough to anoint this a perfect pairing. But what about pairing sausage with wine?

Some sausage is made with wine, which is not surprising since the cultures that have bestowed the finest packed meats on the hungry world all enjoy successful wine cultures too.

How about the salumeria of Italy, including cinghiale, sopressata, and ciauscolo, France’s boudin blanc and saucisson, and Spain’s chorizo and andouille? Beer sounds fine, but that would ignore the internationally popular wines of these countries.

Hunters who ply the woods of Tuscany are looking for wild boar. The pugnacious little porker ravages their vineyards and scares little children, but more importantly, it’s the basis for cinghiale. This specialty of the region combines pork, of course, with accents of sage and other spices, and occasionally a good Tuscan red wine. And it goes perfectly with another Tuscan treasure, Chianti.

France makes the supremely delicious saucisson from pork and herbs, flavored with wine or spirits. The dry red wine from Cahors marries wonderfully with this preparation, but because of saucisson’s delicate flavors, it even works with a slightly sweet Beaumes-de-Venise.

From Spain, we get chorizo, made from pork that is smoked and cured, with paprika and garlic. Best to pour a simple yet bracing red wine like Tempranillo, Priorat from Catalonia, or Touriga from Portugal with this sausage.

Although born in France, andouille—from spiced and heavily smoked pork—is now a staple in many cuisines, including Spain and America’s Cajun cooking. The robust flavors of this sausage need something powerful to stand up to it, such as the red Corbières from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon area.

Perhaps one of the most delicate of the sausages is the boudin blanc, made from pork, but without the blood, wine, and strong herbs of other packed meats. This goes very well with a fresh and well-balanced French Pinot Gris.

Few sausage lovers are unfamiliar with Poland’s kielbasa, even if the wine lovers in the crowd have never had a Polish wine. Instead, steer toward a red Cornas from the Rhône Valley and the marriage will last forever.

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