What to DRINK with That: Pork with Clams

clockwise from left: Harry Hertscheg, Ann Sperling, Clams, Brussel Sprouts, Pork with Clams, Ryan Dentry



DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. This month’s challenge: Pork with Clams.

Pork with Clams

The combination of pork and clams is a signature dish of Alentejo, and the kitchen at the Pousada dos Lóios, in the unspoiled provincial walled capital of Évora, makes a particularly memorable version. The pigs of the province dine on acorns, making the pork especially sweet, and the salty clams provide a nice contrast to the rich meat. Massa de pimentão(a paste of roasted red peppers, garlic, and olive oil) diluted with wine is sometimes used in place of the marinade presented here. Serve this popular dish with fried potatoes cubes. Sometimes a squeeze of lemon is added at the table. See recipe here.


Our Experts:

Ann Sperling (AS)
Winegrower, Sperling Vineyards

Since her childhood upbringing in her family’s Okanagan Valley vineyard to her early winemaking accomplishments, and to her more recent viticultural and winemaking successes, Ann has innately turned to the soil to find character and complexity in her wines. After establishing a reputation for quality and recognition (Platinum Merlot 1992) of this approach at CedarCreek in Kelowna, Ann has applied the same principles to several vineyard and winery start-up projects, including Organic & Demeter Certified – Southbrook (2006), Malivoire (1999), and Creekside (1998), all in the Niagara Peninsula. Recent B.C. winery start-ups include Clos du Soleil (2009) and her family’s vineyard project, Sperling Vineyards (2008).

Harry Hertscheg (HH)
Executive Director, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Harry Hertscheg, AIWS, CSS, CWE, is executive director of the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, Canada’s premier wine show. Harry also writes wine reviews for Tidings and Northwest Palate magazines, judges wines in competitions, and teaches wine classes. He’s a Certified Wine Educator and a Certified Specialist of Spirits (from Society of Wine Educators) and has a Diploma in Wines and Spirits (from Wine and Spirit Education Trust).

Ryan Dentry (RD)
Bar Manager, Café Brio

A wine enthusiast, Ryan has worked in the BC wine industry for eight years, notably at Kettle Valley Winery where he participated in all aspects of the 2009 vintage. In addition, Ryan is a veteran of the Vancouver wine scene, with experience at Bishops and Bridges restaurants, as well as at Liberty Wine Merchants. Ryan looks forward to completing his sommelier certification this coming year.


Pork with Clams

AD – I’d pair a cool climate, fruity, fresh (less than 3 years old), red wine such as Gamay, Foch; or even a Pinot Noir, if it’s not oaky. The wine should be lively and bold, all-about-the-fruit with balancing acidity and moderate alcohol (10-12%).

HH – While wine touring in Portugal’s Bairrada region near the Atlantic, I arrived at a revelation that many coastal Portuguese reds, Alentejo included, go well with seafood. Given their medium-bodied structure, lively acidity, ripe berry fruit with herbal, savoury and mineral notes, along with well-balanced, integrated tannins, it’s little wonder the Portuguese drink more red than white with fish (salt cod dishes included). And they love pork with their reds, too. So, hold off on the big, concentrated Tourigo Nacional reds from the Douro, but do give a lighter-styled Portuguese red a go.

RD – I would choose a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley for its angular acidity, bright berry/cherry flavours and firm minerality. These wines, when young, generally profile with medium body, high acidity and wide range of fruit and herbaceous flavors and show a brilliant integration of components as they age. A 4-5 year old bottle should do the trick, combining the high structure necessary to match the pork with just the right delicacy necessary to not dominate the subtle texture and flavor of the clams.



Caramelized Brussel Sprouts With Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Lemon, and Brown Butter

AD – I looove brussel sprouts, so would pair my Sperling Vineyards 2010 Gewurztraminer with this tasty brussel dish.

HH – Amontillado Sherry (can handle sweet, bitter, smoky, fat, citrus, rich…especially when it’s all in one bite)

RD – Joie Noble Blend, a fall classic! An Alsatian style field blend of aromatic varietals. This wine balances rich limey acidity with white peach, pears, and apricot fruit flavours, for a long dry finish. The floral aromas of the wine will combine beautifully with the rich flavours and textures of the dish, bringing balance to the force.


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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