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Wine pairing: 3 reds for savory, sweet pork tenderloin with figs [Chicago Tribune :: BC-WBS-PORKTENDERLOIN-FIGS:TB]

A dish that is savory, earthy and sweet calls for a wine that can also hit those notes, or at least most of them. These three wines - all reds, from France, Italy and Spain - will cover the bases nicely, each offering ripe fruit plus balancing savory and herbal notes.




Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season 2 pork tenderloins with salt. Cook, turning, until browned, 8 minutes. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Add 2 shallots, finely chopped, and 1 pound fresh or dried figs, halved lengthwise. Season with salt. Cook until beginning to soften. Stir in 1/2 cup each riesling and chicken broth, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme. Return tenderloins to skillet. Cook, basting pork with the liquid occasionally, until just cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Serve over couscous. Makes: 6 servings

Recipe by Joe Gray


Pairings by sommelier Alan Beasey, of The Purple Pig, as told to Michael Austin:

2014 Jean-Paul Thevenet Morgon Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy, France: Made of 100 percent gamay grapes, this wine exudes aromas of sweet red fruit, dried rose petals and savory herbs. Its ripe black cherries and sweet wild raspberries will accentuate the figs, and the nicely integrated tannins and earthy hints of sage and allspice will draw in the pork.

2014 Ampeleia Kepos di Ampeleia, Tuscany, Italy: This red blend is lush and dark, with rich fruit and aromas of rose petals, cinnamon and mint. Plums and blackberries on the palate will pair well with the figs and shallots. The essence of herbs in the wine will enhance the thyme, and the wine's richness will meld perfectly with the honey-kissed pork.

2005 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Rioja, Spain: This wine is extremely perfumed, with a bouquet of dried flowers, dark plums, macerated cherries and leather, all of which will harmonize with the pork. Also, the wine's savory notes of herbs, black olives and mocha will tie the dish's thyme, shallots and honey together.


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