Wine Pairings for Umbrian Sausages: Pork, Wild Boar, and More
Sausages may be associated with Germany, but they’re hardly the only place they hail from. For that matter, sausages also pair well with more than just beer. Sausages, particularly ones made of pork and wild boar, are an important part of the gastronomic tradition of Norcia, Italy in Umbria. These sausages, as well as other encased meats made with fennel and truffle -- to name just a few ingredients, abound in the town’s butcher shops, better known locally as norcinerias.
All of these kinds of sausages -- whether they hail directly from the region of Umbria or not -- are packed with flavor and make a great antipasto. And as with any course in an Italian meal, they deserve to go with a great wine. In general, when choosing which wine to pair with your sausage consider the spices and ingredients they’re made with, as well as whether the sausages are dried, cured, or smoked.
If you’re warming up that sausage, and cooking it with a wine, then your wine pairing is easy; serve the sausage with the wine that you cooked it in. For all other encased meats, your choice in wine is a bit tougher since there’s just so many factors. For pork sausages such as the ones that hail from Norcia, consider a white wine like a Chenin Blanc, or a dry red from Cahors in France, as they can balance the flavors. As for fennel pork sausages, highlight the fennel flavor with a white wine like Gruner Veltiner. If it’s a spicy sausage, complement the spice -- rather than increase it -- with a fruity red like a Sagrantino from Montefalco.
As for a truffle sausage, the unique flavor of this encased meat pairs well with earthy reds, and not just because black truffles grow in the dirt under oak trees throughout Umbria. Consider a Barolo from Piedmont to go with a truffle sausage, because while local sausages often go well with local wines, it’s okay to look outside the region.
Last but not least, the wild boar sausage. This popular sausage, which you can experience during our cooking vacation A Food Lover’s Paradise in Norcia, is actually often made with pork as well. It’s a hearty combination with strong flavors. Try a Shiraz with this tasty treat.
Of course, the varieties of sausages -- from Italy alone -- are endless. As always, choose a wine to imbibe that you enjoy... as long as it doesn’t detract from the flavors of your meal!
By Liz Hall