Wine & Spirits: A Night of Pork and Corks

Got pork? The five chefs and winemakers joining forces this weekend at the Newseum’s split-hoof lovefest surely do.
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This weekend's Cochon 555 will feature lots of pork dishes with winning wine pairings. ( Photo Credit: Michael Harlan Turkell)

Pork chops and Pinot. Bacon and a Bordeaux-style blend. Chitlins and Chenin Blanc. You get the idea: pork and wine go together like, well, bacon and eggs. Porcine aficionados can get their fix of both this weekend at Cochon 555. The third annual culinary competition and tasting event comes to DC on Sunday at 5 PM at the Newseum, where 5 chefs ( of Bourbon Steak; of Ashby Inn; of Hanks Oyster Bar; of Volt and of The Source) will each prepare a menu created from heritage breed pigs—nose to tail—for an audience of pork-loving epicureans and local judges.

And to sip alongside all those pig-liciousness will be offerings from wineries including Alysian Winery, Copain Wine Cellars, Elk Cove Winery, Red Car Wine, Adelsheim Vineyard and Sokol Blosser.

, winemaker at Oregon’s Elk Cove Winery and one of the participants in this weekend’s porkstravaganza, dished with us on the succulent craziness of the event, and the best wine partners for the star of the show:

What is the Cochon 555 experience like?
Right now Cochon 555 is the premier food & wine event in the nation. I have never seen an event where the chefs are so passionate to create & compete. It’s also a celebration of independent family owned wineries that put quality, integrity, and sustainability as a priority.

Elk Cove Winemaker Adam Godlee Campbell will be pairing his wines with pork dishes at this weekend's Cochon 555 event. (Photo Credit: Elk Cove Vineyards)

What are some tips for pairing wine with pork?
Pork and Pinot Noir are a classic pairing because they are both so versatile. What I have learned from doing nearly twenty of these events all over the country is that almost all of the dishes created are best paired with crisp, clean, unaffected, white wines. The chefs at each event really try to show off the elegant rich flavors of pig…you’re not going to see any barbecue sauce.

Your winery is well known for Pinot Gris. Is this wine a good pairing for pork?
Our Pinot Gris is great with nearly all the dishes I’ve tasted at the Cochon 555 events,  but my favorite is when it’s paired with spicy pork dishes. A French/Korean restaurant at the Seattle Cochon 555 called Joule made an incredible spicy pork stew that was nothing short of perfect with the Pinot Gris.

Describe an unexpected pairing you have experienced at Cochon that really worked?
There have been so many amazing dishes and great surprise pairings that it’s difficult to choose one. However we often work with [the founder/organizer of Cochon 555] each Friday before the event for a wine dinner at one of the participating restaurants. This year Mary Dumont from Harvest in Boston blew us away with a whole hog Porchetta that paired amazingly well with all six wines we showed. Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Five Mountain Vineyard, Pinot Noir, & La Boheme Vineyard, Pinot Noir.

Where can you find your wines in the DC area?
You can find our wines at restaurants including BlackSalt, Matisse, Meridian Pint and Blacks Bar and Kitchen. You can also buy them at Potomac Wine and Spirits, Wagshals and Rodmans Pharmacy.

General admission to Sunday’s Cochon 555 starts at $125 per person. VIP tickets cost $175 and include a private tasting of West Sonoma Coast Vintners (Peay, Freestone, Red Car and Freeman), as well as the chance to start the celebration early with artisan cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery and a sustainable oyster station. Check out www.cochon555.com for more information.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on www.twitter.com/kmagyarics.

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