Charcuterie is any type of processed meat that has been dried, salted, fermented or smoked.
Generally, it is served on a Charcuterie platter, or as Antipasto, as an appetizer or ‘before the meal’ dish. Such plates would consist of the various deli meats accompanied by olives, grilled asparagus, marinated vegetables (such as cauliflower or mushrooms) and various cheeses.
Pairing Charcuterie with Wine
Light bodied reds like Barbera, or Beaujolais, and crisp acidic whites like Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio pair best with the salty and fatty content Charcuterie. The crisp acidity whisk away any of the salt and fat that coat your tastebuds, while the fruity flavours offer additional refreshment.
Because of the variety of flavours and textures on the plate, you do not want to pair this dish with complex wines. This plate is supposed to be fun and simple and calls for crisp white wines and lighter and fruitier red wines.
Crisp white wines are perfect as they have a high enough acidity to finish clean against the saltiness and fattiness of the plate. Examples of crisp whites are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Aligote, Riesling, and Sparkling White Wines like Prosecco or Vouvray. The saltiness of the meat also enhances the fruity flavours of the wine, so on the finish you taste both the wine and the subtle meat flavours.
Barbera and Dolcetto red wines are fabulous wine picks as they are light to mid-bodied and acidic enough to cut through the fattiest of meats. Their fruity flavours also don’t clash with the often gamey meats, instead they enhance the flavours. A light bodied Beaujolais also has the same effect and is in fact a perfect five star food and wine pairing!
Mid to heavy bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz will pair just fine with Charcuterie but they only make for okay pairings. The tannin in these reds will mesh well with the high protein of the meat, but will crush the more subtle flavours, so on the finish all you will taste is the wine.
A zippy and dry Rosé combines enough weight and fruit to match with the dish, but finishes clean against the saltiness of all the plate, making each sip refreshing.
Charcuterie & Sherry Pairings
Straying away from wine, sherry, particularly drier styles such as fino, manzanilla and amontillado are versatile enough to holds up against a broad assault of flavours. The acidity of a dry sherry helps cut through the fattiest meats.
Beer & Charcuterie Appetizer Pairings
Finally, beer, particularly an aromatic but slightly bitter India Pale Ale will work wonders with this dish. Much like the Charcuterie platter, it’s simple, clean, and in the end, gets you ready for the main event.
Discover More Pairings