The pig is a key protein despite being eschewed by some religious and cultural groups. Who could miss the sweet, succulent flavours of good pork, especially heritage animals such as Berkshire and Wessex Saddleback? Pork makes the best charcuterie but even in its raw state, it’s extremely versatile. Here are a few of my favourite pork dishes.  

Pig on a spit + 2021 Stoney Rise No Clothes Pinot Noir, Tasmania, A$32

The Balinese love celebrating, with roasted pig a highlight. While staying at Ida’s, a laid-back beach resort in Candidasa, we were asked to join a family celebration. The six-hour spit roasted suckling pig was the centrepiece with spicy salads of all kinds, live music, dancing and singing. Bintang beer featured strongly but I snuck a chilled bottle of pinot into the party. Joe Holyman’s funky, no sulphur pinot noir recalls that delightful day.  

Pork knuckle + 2019 Pittnauer Pitti, Burgenland, Austria, A$29

I escaped Sydney during the 2000 Olympics on a riesling trail through Germany and Austria. My last port of call was with a Formula One crazy winemaker, Willi Opitz. A tasting of his extraordinary sweet wines was followed by dinner at a wine bar in Illmitz. Pork knuckle was the go-to dish, a huge lump of unctuous meat. Willi curiously chose a white wine spritzer. I opted for a glass of Brigitte and Gerhard Pittnauer’s juicy red – a much more successful food and wine pairing. Their 2019 Pitti is a zweigelt and blaufränkisch blend with the weight and density to lap up the brash pork protein.  

Pork Schnitzel + 2021 See Saw Marge Gamay Pinot Noir, Orange, A$35

Still in Austria and the national dish, Wiener schnitzel. Real (suckling) veal is both scarce and expensive in Australia so I use pork loin pounded wafer thin. A smear of Thomy Senf and a side of sauerkraut adds some authenticity. Marge is a skin contact blend of gamay and pinot noir with juicy strawberry and redcurrant flavours. It has the depth and character to meet that of
the crumbed schnitzel.  

Pork belly a la Luke Mangan + 2019 Domaine Paul Blanck Pinot Gris, Alsace, France, A$36

I rented an office from Luke Mangan in his Waterloo days. Luke’s pork belly was a signature dish at his Danks Street Kitchen. Its salt-laden, tooth-cracking crackling a key element. Luke suggested a pinot. I said ‘yes but a gris not a noir’. A vigorous banter ensured. Luke was thinking of a lean, Italianate pinot grigio. I went down the lush Alsace path. I won the day with the Paul Blanck having the texture, weight and intensity to balance the potent pork belly.  

Hokkien Noodles with Pork fillet + 2021 Mandi Friulano Skin Ed XI, Murray Darling, A$25

My Chinese recipe bible is Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking with her stir-fried Hokkien noodles a family favourite. The pork is marinated in umami-laden hoisin sauce with the ginger, garlic, soy, rice wine and sesame oil adding extra punch. This characterful, musk flavoured skin-contact friulano takes things up a notch or two. Mandi is a new label from Celica McCarthy, daughter of Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy. I reckon she’s destined for great things.  

Pork san choy bau + 2021 Serafino Bellissimo Fiano, McLaren Vale, A$25  

Pork mince carries the essential fat and flavour to make a decent san choy bau with iceberg lettuce adding a textural crunch. The ginger, garlic and coriander call for a crisp white. Riesling is my standby with Asian food but a sample of the Maglieri family’s fiano caught my eye – and palate. The 2021 Bellissimo carries fiano’s hallmark nashi and lemongrass flavours with a decisive thrust of acid to cleanse the pork-laden palate. It’s a nifty match.