Picking the Right Wine for Ham

We’ve been getting a lot of ham-wine pairing questions lately and I thought I should share a few tips with you so you can prepare the right wine for specific types of ham.

Ham is rich and salty and the general rule is to pair it with white sparkling wine or a light white but you can always get a red for it as long as you know which category your ham falls under. Most hams pair well with wines that are a little bit sweet i.e. Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Moscato, Grenache, and Zinfandel. My favourite for hams in tins is our very own De La Bodega, a moscato-sugarcane concoction. You can also try these types of ham with a bottle of rosé like our Virginia Blush or a nice Lambrusco.

If you are planning to serve Prosciutto, Bayonne Ham, Serrano, Speck, or Jamón Ibérico, I would recommend a sparkling wine, a semi-frizzante rosé, or a sparkling red. (I love Speck and Riesling together, you should try it!)

Smoked ham (you can order a few kilograms from Smoke Bar and Restaurant, their ham is exquisite), black forest ham, country-cured ham, and mortadella and even the crowd favourite Spam will need a medium-bodied wine with fruity notes. My go-to, of course, is my own brand – the Basi Maria even if it is a full-bodied red. I like my reds to be generous in the mouth. If I want a sweeter finish, I go for the Ambaristo. When I do not feel like drinking my own wine, I get a bottle of Zweigelt or a dry (Secco) Lambrusco.

I am sure you are now wondering where the sweet hams are and let’s face it, we Filipinos might all get a beautiful glazed ham from our relatives this Christmas. For honey-baked hams, glazed hams, and Char Siu (you can get this locally from WOK LANE, they serve an evenly-cooked and tantalizing char siu), you will need a bottle of sweet white wine. De La Bodega for me, of course, but you can also opt for any Shiraz (Australian ones are particularly delightful for these hams), or a bottle of Riesling.

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