So its St Paddy’s Day soon, and nothing says Ireland more than Bacon and Cabbage. But what wine would go best with this? Well the classic flavours are saltiness…. and cabbage… sooo you need something slightly sweet (to counter-act the saltiness), but also dry and crisp (so it can cut through the fatty nature of the meat). Also a third variable is the mash potatoes- lets be fair you can’t have bacon and cabbage without mash potatoes! Its not so much the taste of the spuds, but rather its the texture. Mash potatoes have an awful way of drowning out the taste of wine- just because they are so big and heavy with that creamy texture. So creamy textures, Saltiness, and cabbage to do battle with when pairing a wine with this meal. Well lets think about this logically! Slightly sweet, Dry, Crisp, and big enough to cut through Mash Potatoes…. This is almost impossible! Most signs point towards a riesling, but i don’t think they have the ability to compete with the spuds, and also they tend to be a little too sweet for what we’re looking for. Pinot Grigio- too dry. Sauvignon- not sweet enough. Pinot Gris- not big enough…. Well there is one option left… But ye’re not going to like it- Chardonnay… Un-oaked Chardonnay! Or as you may know it Chablis! Yes its perfect- without all those oaky characteristics, Chablis can be a crisp, big wine, with a touch of minerality that will go well with the cabbage!
Now for the difficult one… the red wine! Well the same principals apply- only instead of fighting the saltiness with sweetness, i may opt for spicy or peppery notes to bounce of the saltiness. What you do not want is anything too tannic, and what you want is something with ripe fruits. So pepper notes point us towards Shiraz or a Cotes Du Rhone… and these wines don’t tend to be overly tannic. But i think something a little more medium bodied would suit better. So Grenache or Primitivo are our only options left!
As with any dish it depends on personal preferences- and given that this is a particularly difficult one to pair with, then it would be no surprise that i got it completely wrong! So if you’ve got any suggestions as to what works with your bacon and cabbage then feel free to comment below! Have a good Patrick’s day!