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What Wine Goes With Ham? Pairing Guide

What Wine Goes With Ham? Pairing Guide

Most people ask questions like what temperature to cook ham or how long to cook a ham.

However, there is one important question about ham that everyone seems to skip over. What wine do you serve with ham?

Do you serve brut, dry, or sweet wines with ham? Do you serve red or white wine with ham?

All wine is not equal, so you must pair the ham with a specific wine to get the best results.

Do You Serve Ham With White or Red Wine?

Ham is a versatile meat, so there are many wines, including red and white wines. For example, ham pairs with wines such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer.

In contrast, red wine enthusiasts can enjoy Zinfandel or a Bordeaux Blend with a slice of ham.

What Wine Pairs With Ham?

Pairing any wine with ham can ruin the entire dinner. The way the ham is cooked, as well as the ingredients used to cook the ham, can impact the pairing.

In general, you need to pair the ham with a wine that accentuates its flavor and helps cut through its salty flavor.

Dry-Cured Aged Ham

The most popular dry-cured aged ham is Italian prosciutto. This type of ham is sliced thinly into sheets that are used for appetizers.

Other types of dry-cured aged hams include speck, Bayonne ham, Jamon Iberico, and Serrano ham.

These thinly sliced hams pack a bold salty flavor and chewy texture. Therefore, sparkling white wine or sparkling Rose wine is best.

However, you can also get away with serving dry-cured aged ham with sparkling red wine.

Stella Rosa Rosso

Stella Rosa Rosso is a semi-sweet effervescent red wine that provides a refreshing feel. It has a characteristic strawberry and red berry note that pairs beautifully with dry-aged, cured ham.

It has a smooth body, and it is not overly astringent or sickeningly sweet.

The wine is sweet, which contrasts with the salty flavor of the ham. However, Stella Rosa Russo also has acidic notes that cleanse your palette after a bite of the salty ham.

Stella Rosa Russo is relatively inexpensive, so it’s perfect if you are on a budget.

Prosecco

Prosecco is Italian sparkling wine. Prosecco is an ideal choice for dry-aged cured ham. Prosecco has a light yet smooth flavor, which pairs nicely with the bold flavor of the ham.

The bubbly texture will soften the salty flavor of the ham band and refresh your palette. Furthermore, you can also serve prosecco with glazed ham.

Savory And Smoked Ham

Savory or smoked hams can be whole fresh hams or pre-sliced hams found in the grocery store’s meat section.

Mortadella, black forest ham, spam, smoked ham hocks, and country-cured hams are examples of savory and smoked hams.

These savory or smoked hams pair well with light-bodied to medium-bodied wines or rose wines.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a bold red wine. Pinot Noir has notes of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries.

Pinot Noir also has subtle yet complex flavors of truffles, leather, tobacco, dark chocolate, and a hint of smokiness. These fruity and complex flavors provide a refreshing taste that offsets the ham’s saltiness.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is perfect for baked ham. Chardonnay flavors range from papaya to apple and pineapple.

If you add pineapples to your baked ham and the pineapple flavor of the Chardonnay will be a match made in heaven.

The pineapple, as well as the wine’s other flavors, will offset the ham’s savory and smoky flavor.

Domaine Turenne Camille Rose

Sparkling wines can range from sweet to dry. Even though it has some dryness, Domaine Turenne Camille Rose is not a dry wine.

Domaine Turenne Camille Rose is not as sweet as other sparkling wine varieties because it’s produced from various red grapes, including Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah.

Domaine Turenne Camille Rose has apricot and peach flavors that lend sweetness and contrast the ham’s saltiness. 

Sweet/Salty Ham

This type of ham is usually sweet. Sweet or Salty hams include honey-baked ham, Mortadella, Canadian Bacon, glazed baked hams, and Char Siu.

The trick is to pair sweet and salty hams with fruity or sweet wines. For example, if you prefer dry wines, pair the ham with Merlot, Riesling, White Zinfandel, or Chenin Blanc.

In contrast, if you prefer to pair hams with sweet wins pot for Moscato or Port wine.

Gewürztraminer

Sweet and salty hams pair beautifully with Gewurztraminer. Gewurztraminer is an off-dry wine that pairs well with fruity glazes like pineapple or apricot.

Gewurztraminer has a lovely aroma and a pronounced lychee flavor. There are also subtle soft notes of pineapples and apricot, so it pairs well with spice-rubbed ham or sweet, glazed ham.

Riesling

Riesling is one of the most popular white wine pairings for ham. Riesling is very acidic, so it complements the salty ham perfectly. Riesling can range from off-dry wine to sweet.

Either dry or sweet, Riesling will work with ham. The dry Riesling is acidic, so it will prevent the ham’s salty flavor from overwhelming your palette.

In contrast, sweeter Rieslings provide a sweetness that contrasts beautifully with salty meat.

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is another white wine that pairs beautifully with salty and sweet ham. Pinot Gris has fruity flavors of apple, peach, and pear.

Furthermore, Pinot Gris is more acidic and full-bodied. Therefore, Pinot Gris is the perfect pairing for sweet and savory ham.

The fruity flavors complement the flavor of the sweet ham while contrasting beautifully with the saltiness. Additionally, the wine’s acidity helps cleanse your palette of sweet and salty flavors.

Final Thoughts

Most people believe you cannot pair gam with wine. However, I beg to differ. Ham deserves to be served with wine.

Regardless of the type of ham, the right glass of wine will enhance the ham’s flavors making it taste even better. So, the next time you prepare ham, pair it with a glass of Pinot Gris, Merlot, or Prosecco.

The delicious pairing of ham and wine will surprise anyone who dines at your table.