A Sommelier Explains How To Pair Wine With Braised Meat Like A Pro

braised short ribs
braised short ribs - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Cooking denser cuts of meat such as chuck roast, lamb shank, and pork shoulder in a cooking liquid until they are mouthwateringly succulent is called "braising."  Braising can create both fork-tender textures and rich, complex flavor profiles out of what are often tougher, inexpensive cuts. This transformation is often enhanced with the inclusion of ingredients such as root vegetables, garlic, and onions, as well as various seasonings.

Braising's delicious effects on meat's texture and flavor are why recipes like pot roast and slow-braised beef short ribs rank high when it comes to home-cooked comfort food. A solid wine pairing can elevate the enjoyment of these dishes even further. Gabriel Corbett, a sommelier at JÔNT in Washington, D.C., told Daily Meal that his personal choice for serving with braised meat is a red wine, and whether your wine preference is red or white, "sticking to a wine that has acid is important."

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A Pro's Tips For Choosing Wine To Pair With Braised Meats

Rose, red, and white wine in stemware
Rose, red, and white wine in stemware - Fstop123/Getty Images

Corbett shared his suggestions with us for which red and white wines to serve with braised meat dishes. As for reds, he said, "I definitely prefer a high-acid red wine like Nebbiolos from Barolo or Barbaresco."

Nebbiolo is a variety of red grape included in numerous Italian wines; the two wines named by Corbett use the Nebbiolo grape exclusively as opposed to blending it with other varieties. These wines feature the requisite acidity to counter the richness of braised meat because their "tannins and the acid both work well to cut through all the fat and hard-working muscle groups generally found with braised meat," Corbett said. Beef dishes, such as braised beef brisket, are an excellent match for Barolo's fruity and floral notes along with its high concentration of tannins and acidity.

Corbett's white wine recommendations for braised dishes include "Chardonnays from Burgundy (specifically Chablis 1er Cru or Grand cru), or dry Riesling from Alsace or Germany." Chardonnay and Riesling pair well with pork dishes cooked slow and low, which means they nicely complement a meal of roast pork belly.

In the event you're braising meat with wine, the sommelier says it's "fair game to use a similar wine to drink." However, he cautions against using an expensive variety when cooking.

"I wouldn't recommend braising with a particularly expensive bottle of wine -- save that for drinking!" Corbett said.

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