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Wine to compliment ham

I've been asked to serve ham for Christmas dinner; what wine is good with ham (what wine will not be ruined by ham)?

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  1. First choice: Riesling. Anything from fuller-bodied but dry (I prefer Austrian Rieslings in this style) to German Spatlese-level sweetness.

    If you want a red I would go with a medium-bodied New World Pinot Noir.

    1 Reply
    1. re: whiner

      We just had a pre-christmas dinner with friends and I served ham. We had a gewurtz with it and it was perfect! Riesling would be nice too, but be sure you don't get a sweet late harvest one--you need a dry one like whiner said. I think Pinot Noir would also work, maybe do a white and a red so your guests have a choice.

    2. If red wines go with red meat and white wines with white meat, why not a pink wine with pink meat? Tavel rose does very nicely.

      1. Both of the other suggestions, Gewurztraminer and a good dry Rose would work in addition to my reccmendations for Riesling and Pinot. :-)

        1. I like Pinot Bianco/Pinot Blanc with ham...

          1. GR... can you describe the "ham" a bit more? Is it plainly boiled, or smoked, or "honey" ham? Any accompanying spices (clove for example)... the exact type of ham will help pick the best match...

            But, just in general, riesling works fairly well, among reds beaujolais can be quite a consistent match...

            1. On Christmas Day? Rosé Champagne.

              Or Rosé. Always a wonderful pairing with ham.

              1. If it's the typical sticky sweet honey-baked variety, I'd go with a good lambrusco or brachetto since the fizz will help cut the fat. Kabinetts and QMP German rieslings also pair nicely, as well as California viogniers. I like spicy gewurztraminers too, but some guests have found it to be overly floral and perfumed to the point of offputting.

                1. >>> GR... can you describe the "ham" a bit more? Is it plainly boiled, or smoked, or "honey" ham? Any accompanying spices (clove for example)... the exact type of ham will help pick the best match... <<<

                  Exactly!

                  So, without knowing, I'd echo the thoughts of a good, DRY, rosé from the Rhône or Provence, a Beaujolais-Villages or Cru de Beaujolais, or a lower alcohol, lighter bodied Zinfandel.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: zin1953

                    Zin: Can you recommend a lower alcohol, lighter bodied Zinfandel? All of the Zinfandels I come across are high alcohol...

                    1. re: Husky

                      gewurtz, riesling, pinot blanc or champagne(or any bubbly).

                      1. re: Husky

                        Pedroncelli makes a Zin Rose' that is considerably drier than the white zins. I like it with ham sandwiches, so...

                        1. re: Husky

                          Not without going to the store and checking labels, but then --that doesn't really tell you much anyway.

                          What I was thinking of was the "old" style of Zinfandel that wineries like Louis M. Martini or Pedroncelli made -- think "body of a Beaujolais" (or lighter Pinot Noir) and "flavor of a Zinfandel." And, sadly, that's pretty hard to find these days . . . .

                      2. If a sweet baked ham, I'd go with a gewerz or a Provencale rose, or a brut rose champagne. If a smoked or cured (not sweet) country style, I'd consider going "different" and serving a nice oloroso sherry, which will complement the smoke and salt wonderfully.