Imagine a cozy evening, a table set with the finest silver, and the aroma of a succulent ham dinner wafting through the air. The only question lingering is, what wine should grace your glass to elevate this culinary experience?

Diving into the harmonious world of wine and food pairings, I’ve cultivated flavors for over 15 years, and the journey always leads to delightful discoveries. Specifically, what wine goes with ham dinner remains a tantalizing topic for connoisseurs and novices alike.

This article is an exploration of taste, guiding your palate through the sumptuous combination of ham-friendly wines and tender cuts of meat.

By the time the last sentence is savored, you will grasp the essence of pairing Merlot with honey-glazed ham or understanding why a chilled Riesling echoes the subtle sweetness of a baked ham.

We’ll dissect the tantalizing interaction between wine acidity and the savory profile of your dish, ensuring your next ham dinner is nothing short of sublime.

From festive wine selections for your family gatherings to the perfect bottle for an intimate meal, every detail is a step towards the ultimate dining experience.

What Wine Goes With Ham Dinner

Wine Type Wine Characteristics Why It Pairs Well Suggested Varietals Serving Tips
Light and Fruity Reds Low to medium tannins, bright acidity, fruity notes Complements the sweetness of the ham without overpowering it Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Grenache Serve slightly chilled
Medium-Bodied Reds Balanced acidity, moderate tannins, berry or plum flavors Offers a contrasting depth to highlight the savory flavors of the ham Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah Serve at room temperature
Dry Rosés Crisp acidity, fresh berry flavors, dry profile The acidity cuts through the ham’s fattiness, the fruitiness plays well with glazes Provence Rosé, Spanish Rosado, California Rosé Serve chilled
Rich and Creamy Whites Full-bodied, buttery, hints of vanilla or oak The richness can hold up to the weight of the ham, creamy texture complements Chardonnay, Viognier Serve slightly below room temperature
Sweet Whites Sweetness, fruity, low to moderate acidity The sweetness can balance a salty ham, especially if it’s smoked or has a sweet glaze Riesling (off-dry or sweet), Moscato, Gewürztraminer Serve well chilled

Understanding the Ham

Alright, before we pop the cork, we’ve gotta get to know our ham. Because ham isn’t just ham, you know? There are different types to consider.

Glazed Ham: A crowd favorite. That sweet, sticky glaze…mmmm.

Smoked Ham: All about that flavor. It’s got a distinct, robust taste that comes from being smoked over wood.

Cured Ham: A classic. It’s prepared by curing with salt and sometimes spices, giving it a unique, savory flavor.

What’s cool is, how your ham’s made can impact what wine you’ll want to pour. Crazy, huh?

Wine Pairing Principles

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Ok, we’re going to get a little wine-geeky here. Bear with me. So, there are three big things in wine that play a role when we’re deciding what wine goes with ham dinner – sweetness, acidity, and tannins.

Sweetness: Sweet wines can balance out the salty, savory flavors of ham. Think of it like a high-five between flavors.

Acidity: Wines with good acidity act like a citrus squeeze on your ham, brightening up the flavors.

Tannins: These are what make your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton after a sip of red wine. They’re not best buds with ham, so we’ll stick to low-tannin wines here.

And the glaze on your ham? Well, that’s a whole other ball game. A sweet glaze will want a wine that’s equally sweet, else your wine could end up tasting as bland as water. We don’t want that, do we?

Wine Pairings for Different Types of Ham

Alright, so now we’re getting into the fun part. We’ve got our ham, and now we’re going to find the best buddies for it from the world of wines. We’re going to answer the million-dollar question, “What wine goes with ham dinner?” based on the type of ham you’ve got.

Wine Pairings for Glazed Ham

Glazed ham is like that sweet and friendly person everyone loves to hang out with. So, we need a wine that’s going to keep up with that sweetness and not shy away.

Riesling comes first to mind. It’s got a fruity sweetness that makes it a champ at pairing with glazed ham. It balances out the saltiness of the ham and compliments the sweetness of the glaze. It’s like a fruity, sweet symphony for your taste buds.

Next, we have Gewurztraminer. It’s a bit of a tongue-twister, yeah? But trust me, it’s worth every syllable. It’s aromatic, it’s sweet, and it’s just going to make your glazed ham taste all the more delightful.

Last, but not the least, we have Australian Shiraz. You might think, “A red with ham?” But hey, who said reds can’t be sweet? Australian Shiraz brings a delightful burst of fruitiness that’s going to be like a high-five for the sweet glaze on your ham.

Wine Pairings for Smoked Ham

If you’ve got smoked ham on the menu, then we’ve got a different set of wines to consider. Smoked ham has a rich, robust flavor, so we need wines that won’t be overwhelmed.

First up, Red Zinfandel. It’s bold, it’s jammy, and it’s going to go toe-to-toe with your smoked ham. The smokiness of the ham and the bold flavors of Red Zinfandel are like two peas in a pod.

Then there’s Tempranillo. It’s a Spanish red that’s got a combination of fruitiness and earthiness. It can handle the strong, smoky flavors of your ham. Plus, it’s just fun to say.

And let’s not forget about Rosé wines. They’re like the middle ground between red and white wines, bringing in the best of both worlds. A good, dry Rosé can balance out the smokiness of the ham, making your meal all the more enjoyable.

Wine Pairings for Cured Ham

Last but not least, we have cured ham. It’s salty, it’s savory, and it needs a wine that can stand up to its boldness.

Enter Cava. It’s a Spanish sparkling wine that’s crisp and refreshing. It can cut through the saltiness of the ham and bring a delightful contrast to your palate.

Then we have Fino Sherry. It’s dry, it’s crisp, and it’s going to balance out the flavors of your cured ham, turning your dinner into a feast.

Versatile Wine Pairings for Any Ham

Okay, so what if you’re not sure what type of ham you’re having? Or maybe you just want to be ready with a wine that’ll rock with any ham. Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered. Here are some versatile wine pairings for any ham, answering the ever important question, “what wine goes with ham dinner?”

Beaujolais Cru or village Burgundy: Let’s start with this French beauty. It’s fruity, it’s light, and it’s ready to party with any type of ham you’ve got.

GSM Blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre): A mix of three different grapes, this blend brings in a variety of flavors that can keep up with the different tastes of ham. It’s like a crowd of flavors in your mouth having a good time.

Riesling: Yes, our friend Riesling again! Remember how it rocked with glazed ham? Well, guess what? It’s flexible enough to go with other types of ham as well. It’s like that friend who gets along with everyone in the group.

White Wine Pairings with Ham

Now, let’s talk about some white wines that’ll be great with your ham. If you’re a fan of whites or just want to try something different, here are a few picks for “what wine goes with ham dinner?”

Sémillon: This white wine is usually on the sweeter side, making it a good match for ham. It’ll balance out the salty-savory ham and bring a refreshing change.

Viognier: It’s got a fuller body and brings a combination of floral and fruit notes. It’s like a bouquet of flowers with a fruity surprise, ready to add an extra layer of flavors to your ham dinner.

Old Vine Chenin Blanc: This wine can range from dry to sweet, with a good bit of acidity. So, it’s ready to roll with your ham, whether it’s sweet glazed or salty cured.

Grand Cru Gewürztraminer: Last but not least, this aromatic, sweet white wine is not just a good match with glazed ham, but it can also play well with other types of ham.

Pairing Wine with Ham and Other Foods

Alright, now let’s mix things up a bit. What if you’re not just having ham? What if there’s turkey or a sandwich involved? Well, we’ve got some ideas for that as well.

Pairing wine with ham and turkey: If you’re serving ham and turkey, you’re going to want a versatile wine that can keep up with both. A bottle of Beaujolais Cru or a GSM blend can do the trick here. They’ve got enough flavors to compliment both the ham and the turkey, turning your meal into a feast.

Pairing wine with ham and cheese sandwich: Got a ham and cheese sandwich? A crisp white like Sémillon or an aromatic Gewürztraminer can bring out the flavors of the ham and cheese, and add a refreshing touch.

FAQ On What Wine Goes With Ham Dinner

What’s the ideal wine to pair with a glazed ham?

A sweet and vibrant Riesling comes to mind, friends. Its natural sweetness and acidity harmonize with the ham’s sugary glaze, creating a balance that dances on the palate.

Is red wine suitable for ham dinners?

Certainly! Look towards a lighter red, like Pinot Noir. Its subtle fruit notes and low tannins complement the ham without overwhelming it. It’s a friendly guest that gets along with every plate.

Can I serve a white wine with ham?

White wine and ham are like old pals. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay with a touch of oak enriches the flavors, especially if your ham leans on the savory side.

What about sparkling wines?

Sparkling wines do a little magic trick with ham. The effervescence of a Sparkling Rosé or Prosecco cuts through the fat and refreshes your taste buds, setting you up perfectly for the next bite.

Does the way the ham is cooked affect the wine pairing?

You bet it does. A smoked ham calls for a robust wine like Zinfandel, hinting at sweetness with a smoky profile. For roasted or baked ham, the refreshing minerality of a Gewürztraminer aligns beautifully with the ham’s richness.

What wine works well with a honey-glazed ham?

For that sweet glaze, a wine that shares a hint of sweetness is your friend. An off-dry Gewürztraminer or even a semi-sweet Riesling can be a match made in heaven.

Are there any budget-friendly wines that pair well with ham?

Absolutely! No need to break the bank. A Grenache delivers fruity generosity without the high price tag; a testament that great pairings don’t always come with a hefty cost.

How does serving temperature affect wine and ham pairing?

Serving temperature is a key player. A Chardonnay served too cold might miss some nuances, while a too-warm Merlot could eclipse the ham’s flavors. Aim for chilled whites and room temperature reds.

What if the ham is spicy?

When spice enters the scene, grab a wine that’s slightly sweet. A Riesling or Malbec, with their balance of sweetness and body, will tame the heat and complement the spice in every slice.

Can dessert wines fit into the ham dinner scene?

For those who venture beyond the meal, a dessert wine can transition smoothly, provided it’s not too sweet. A refreshing Moscato or an ice wine, served in moderation, ensure your meal concludes on a high, harmonious note.


So, you’ve journeyed through the rich tapestry of flavors where wine meets ham, a culinary quest guided by that burning question: what wine goes with ham dinner? The answer isn’t shrouded in mystery but presented on a vibrant palette of tastes, each eager to complement your lovingly prepared ham.

  • Revel in the symphony of a light Pinot Noir as it mingles with the savory notes.
  • Relish the refreshing zest a Sauvignon Blanc’s citrus undertone injects into each bite.
  • Smile as a flute of sparkling Rosé effervesces, echoing the celebration on your table.

In this tapestry, each thread—from the body of the wine to the delicate wine and food match tips—weaves together to elevate your dining experience. May your next ham dinner be not just a meal, but an exploration of flavors, an affair to remember, and a toast to the simple yet profound joy of pairing done right.

If you liked this article about what wine goes with ham, you should check out this article about what wine goes with salmon.

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