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Oct 28, 2014
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WINE WITH…Slow-Roasted Pork with Coconut and Jalapeño

“We’ve got a recipe we think would be a good contender for Wine With,” Lisa had emailed earlier in the week. She sent us the recipe so that we could think about wine selections, and a
few days later she and Charles arrived at our house bearing their crock pot. Mouthwatering whiffs of the fragrant Caribbean inspired dinner wafted from the pot even before the lid was opened. With its pungent spicy-hot elements balanced by sweet tropical coconut flavors, the slow-cooked, meltingly tender pork roast was indeed both an inspired and challenging dish to pair with wine.

Slow-Roasted Pork With Coconut and Jalapeño

Serves 4

The total cooking time is about 8 hours, but the recipe could be adapted to braising the pork in a low oven. If you prefer to use brown rice, cook it separately and add it to the meat later along with the beans. Tortilla chips are an optional garnish.

About 2 pounds boneless Boston Butt or pork shoulder
Coconut Barbecue Sauce (Recipe follows)
1 cup long-grain white or brown rice
1 18-oz can black beans, drained
Jalapeno Sauce (recipe follows)
16 ounces sour cream

Place the meat in a crock pot or other slow cooker with ½ cup water and half of the Coconut Barbecue Sauce. Cook on high for about 6 hours.

Pour in the remaining coconut sauce. If you are using white rice, add one cup of to the pork mixture and stir in the rice, making sure it is completely covered by liquid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Stir in the beans (and the cooked brown rice if that’s what you are using) and simmer another hour until pork is spoon-tender and rice is completely cooked.

Stir the jalapeño sauce into the sour cream and pass separately at the table. (Pass tortilla chips separately if you are using them).

Coconut Barbeque Sauce

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
One can (13.5 ounce) unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups water

Stir together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Jalapeño Sauce

1 fresh jalapeño pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt

Over medium heat, cook the minced jalapeno pepper and garlic in the oil, stirring frequently, until the pepper is soft. Stir in the cilantro and vinegar; then add the water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced by about half. Remove from heat. When it has cooled completely stir it into the sour cream.

* * *

Perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned over the nine years that we have been testing recipes and tasting wines for this column is that color does not much matter when pairing wine and food. Flavor profile is far more important. Many dishes go best with completely dry and savory, even earthy wines. Others work better with rich ripe ones. This particular dish fits that second scenario, as its sweet, succulent flavors demand a wine with a complementary profile. That wine might be white, pink, or red, and its richness may come from ripe fruit or residual sugar. No matter. It’s the basic profile that makes all the difference.  

Connect  on Twitter:   @M_L_Thomas  and  @Wine_With_
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Approx. Price


La Crema, Arroyo Seco (California) Chardonnay 2012


A stereotypical California Chardonnay, fairly bursting with sweet tropical scented fruit and supported on the palate by plenty of buttery oak. That rich sweetness is just what this particular dish needs in a wine companion.

Lapostolle, Rapel Valley (Chile) “Canto de Apalta” 2011(Imported by Marnier-Lapostolle)


A substantial red, this blend of Carmenere, Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah tastes lavish. Its sweetness comes from fruit that exhibits nary a trace of green or vegetal flavor, and its tannins, while present, feel soft and supple.


MacMurray Ranch, Central Coast (California) Pinot Noir 2012


Cherry and cola flavors dominate in this unabashedly sweet red. The wine lacks subtlety, but then subtlety is not what this dish wants. Instead, the wine’s gushy character makes it a delectable dinner companion.

Massolino, Piedmont (Italy) Dolcetto d’Alba 2013

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)


Dolcetto means “little sweet one” in Italian, and that’s precisely what this wine is—little because light-bodied, and sweet because fully ripe. It was a near perfect partner with this dish.

Maximin Grunhauser. Mosel (Germany) Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett 2012

(Imported by Loosen Bros. USA)


We guessed that this wine, with only 8 percent alcohol, would be too light to pair with such a full-flavored dish. Boy were we wrong. Its peach and apricot flavored fruit oozes with succulent flavor, and its crisp acidity keeps everything in balance, making it a great though surprising partner.