What Wine Goes With Ham?

You’re about to serve the most gorgeous glazed ham for dinner after hours in the kitchen. Lo and behold, you have no idea what wine pairing would best suit your meal. 

Has this ever been you?

Pairing wine with ham is tricky, as its salty flavors don’t make it very flexible. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered for your next ham dinner.

Keep reading for the best wine pairings for ham. 

Best White Wines With Ham

Due to ham’s high salt content, white wines often work best. Reds are often too heavy, clashing with the hearty ham dish. However, there are a few exceptions, as you will see below. 

For now, let’s look at the best white wines for ham. 

1. Riesling

With such high acidity, dry Riesling is a perfect complement to salty ham. It cuts through the fat and balances the salt beautifully. In addition, its light body, off-dry finish, and delicate flavors of green apple, beeswax, and jasmine won’t overwhelm the meat. 

For glazed ham, indulge in a sweet Riesling to complement the brown sugar coating. 

Riesling is terrific for creating harmony with your ham, whether cured or sweet, making it an easy choice.

2. Sauvignon Blanc

Ranging from grassy to tropical in flavor, Sauvignon Blanc is our next white wine of choice. Like Riesling, its high acidity will cut through the fat and salt of a traditionally prepared ham. Sauvignon Blanc is medium-bodied with fresh, crisp honeydew melon, peach, grapefruit, and honey notes. Undoubtedly, it can hold its own when it comes to a heavier meat dish.

Speaking of honey, Sauvignon Blanc will bring out those sweet, floral flavors of a honey-glazed ham.

If you prefer a Sauvignon Blanc that’s a little more savory and herbaceous, a Blanc from New Zealand will be just the thing. 

For a fun pairing, Sauvignon Blanc tastes perfect with a Monte Cristo sandwich.

3. Pinot Grigio

Pulling back on the acidity just a little bit, Pinot Grigio is a slightly more mellow, dry white wine. With prominent lemon, pear, nectarine, and apple notes along with honeysuckle aromas, this is another perfect white for salty cured ham or sweet ham. 

Try Pinot Grigio with dishes that include both pineapple and ham. A Canadian bacon pineapple pizza is an adventurous pairing!

4. Moscato

Perhaps one of the most straightforward choices for a sweet ham wine pairing, Moscato pairs perfectly with the glaze in brown sugar honey ham. With its lower alcohol content and fresh orange blossom, honey, and lemon notes, Moscato is an effortlessly smooth complement. 

Bonus points if you have a spicy appetizer. Moscato pairs well will spice, as its sweetness will help balance the heat.

5. Gewürztraminer

A famous German sweet wine, Gewürztraminer is no stranger to sweetness with its high residual sugar levels, which are the natural sugars left over during the winemaking process. This wine is aromatic with rose petal, floral, and passion fruit notes. Instead of saving Gewürztraminer for dessert, pair it with honey or maple ham for a sweet flavor explosion.

6. Sparkling Wine

The bubbles in a white sparkling wine like Prosecco or Champagne taste delightful with sweet, salty, or cured ham, like thin Prosciutto. Choose a sparkling white that’s off-dry to sweet in flavor, as this will lift the salt and dryness, adding smoothness to the palate. You can make a toast and balance your meal all at once!

Now that we’ve covered the top white wine choices for ham, let’s see what our red wine list has to offer. 

Best Red Wines With Ham

While there aren’t many red wines that pair well with ham, a few stand out as clear contenders. 

Here are the best red wines to pair with your ham. 

1. Pinot Noir

You’ve heard how well Pinot Noir pairs with barbecue. It’s also one of the best complements to smoked ham. With bright acidity, silky tannins, and herbaceous red fruit notes, a quality Pinot Noir will round out the smoke and salt. With its high acidity, it also cuts through fat effortlessly. A cherry glaze will bring out Pinot Noir’s cherry notes if you want to bolster those fruity flavors. 

2. Red Zinfandel

If you’re looking for a bolder pairing for your black forest ham, turn up the heat with a hearty Zinfandel. Like Pinot Noir, this red wine has intense blackberry, plum, and cherry notes. What makes Zinfandel different from Pinot is its higher acidity and alcohol content. It is also more complex in body. 

With Zinfandel, there’s no need to add a fruit glaze to your smoked ham. Let its bold flavors do the work. 

If you want a red that’s even more full-bodied, a quality GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) from France is an excellent, fruit-forward choice for smoked ham. 

3. Rosé

Rosé is bursting with refreshing fruit, berry, and citrus flavors and acidity, which helps it stand up to dry and smoked ham easily. Rosé is perfect if you want something fruitier than white wine.

4. Sparkling Red Wine

A crisp, lightly sweet, sparkling red wine is an excellent choice for ham. Try a sparkling Rosé with bright acidity, sweet fruit taste, floral aromas, and smooth mineral finish. If you’re looking for something fizzier and sweeter, Lambrusco tastes great when sipped alongside ham. It’s also low in alcohol, making it an easy sipper. 

Break out the glaze and Lambrusco for a salty/sweet rush!

What is the Best Wine With Ham?

We hope this ham and wine pairing guide serves you well when cooking your next ham dinner, as there are several options. We understand what it’s like to feel lost when looking for the perfect wine to complement such bold meat. 

Ham is tricky with its high salt and fat content, so an acidic, off-dry white wine is always a safe choice. A sweet wine like Moscato is perfect when you have a maple or honey glaze. If you must have red wine, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Rosé, add a burst of fruit, especially when the ham is covered in cherry glaze. 

Overall, the perfect ham and wine pairing comes down to the wine you like best with your ham.