The Best Wine Styles With Wild Boar

European hunters sometimes call them 'black coats'; cooks often use wild boar to make spicy dishes.

© Shutterstock

wild-boar

European hunters sometimes call them 'black coats'; cooks often use wild boar to make spicy dishes.

© Shutterstock

Wild boar (Sus scrofa) are very widespread worldwide, whilst there are several million roaming the forests of mainland Europe they are slowly making a comeback in Great Britain, having been hunted to extinction in the Middle Ages. Hunters classify wild boar in the group of cloven-hoofed game. Wild boars are nocturnal omnivores, the male animal is called a boar and the female a doe, the offspring are called piglets, sometimes charmingly referred to as 'Humbugs' due to their distinctive stripped markings which act as camouflage. The doe and their offspring live in groups of up to 20 called sounders; male boar are solitary animals only joining a sounder at mating and staying for a year or so. At the age of one to two years, the young animals are called overrunners. The male boars' 6 inch long self-sharpening tusks make them an intimidating spectacle, but despite weighing in at around 200 kilograms when fully grown, they are generally shy and will stay away from humans, so conflict is rare. 

Wine accompaniments

Weighing around 25 to 30 kilograms, boar piglets produce beautiful chops, backs and legs whose meat is tender and juicy with only a subtle gamey aroma. They are perfect for roasting and braising. The fine, less fatty meat certainly allows for combinations with white wines. As with roast pork, more mature whites are advantageous; especially those with good acidity. Wines with a little residual sweetness, for example a Riesling or Traminer, will work well especially if the meat is cooked with piquant spices, for example with wild boar goulash. When served with fruity accompaniments such as cherry sauce or cranberry jelly, fruity red wines from Austrian Zweigelt to Chambertin are delightful with the firmer back meat. Cuvées of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon or Tempranillo are particularly successful with spit roasted boar.

Braised roasts of adult wild boar are often served with side dishes that express the spice of the forest with nuances of juniper, berries and mushrooms; the meat itself becomes more aromatic with age. Depending on its intensity, off-dry later-harvested wines from Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are suitable, while most traditional dishes are better served with structured red wines with the good extract, such as Blaufränkisch from Austria or Humagne Rouge from Switzerland. A classic pairing is Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany has many delicious recipes for wild boar, especially Pici al Ragù di Cinghiale. Surprisingly Sauvignon Blanc goes well with spicy, smoked wild boar bacon.

FIND OUT MORE