The Wines To Avoid Pairing With Ham At All Costs, According To An Expert

baked ham on cutting board
baked ham on cutting board - 4kodiak/Getty Images

A glass of wine can be just the thing to amend a delectable roast holiday ham. However, you must be selective about which type of wine you choose when eating ham, as certain selections can detract from the meal. To get more insight into the worst wine pairings for ham, Daily Meal spoke with Doreen Winkler, owner of New York City's Orange Glou. Winkler's establishment features an impressive selection of orange wine, which gets its notable shade from a skin-contact fermentation process using white grapes.

As for wines to avoid with ham, Winkler recommends steering clear of "big, fruity reds like Cabernet or Bordeaux that can overpower the ham." She cautions that the aggressive texture and powerful flavor notes found in these wines could inadvertently take center stage during your dinner, which will throw off the balance of flavors. Instead, Winkler suggests something a little subtler if you want red wine to make an appearance at your dinner.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

Best Reds To Pair With Your Ham Feast

glass of red wine
glass of red wine - Image Source/Getty Images

According to Winkler, ham pairs best with a "lighter-bodied" red wine, as opposed to some of the bolder selections she recommends avoiding. A wine's body refers to its texture, with light-bodied wines often being described as smooth, while full-bodied wines will have a more robust viscosity. Understanding the concept of body can help you sound smart when talking about wine, but it can also help you select the perfect red for your ham-based feast.

When it comes to red wines with a lighter body, you can't go wrong with Pinot Noir. This wine is known for its seamless melding of earthy and fruity flavors, as well as its elevated acidity and smoothness. Grenache is another winning selection when it comes to ham. Along with berries, the wine also offers the perfect hint of citrusy undertones, making it immensely drinkable. Blended versions of Grenache are also available, which are notable for their touch of spice.

Other Wines That Work Well With Ham

pouring glass of rosé wine
pouring glass of rosé wine - Markswallow/Getty Images

Not everyone is a fan of red wine. Accordingly, it helps to have alternate selections that adhere to Winkler's advice to avoid wines that make it "hard to taste your dish." When it comes to white wines, Riesling is a good choice thanks to the brightness imparted by the wine's generous acidity. This is especially true of hams that feature citrus glazes, as the fruity notes in Riesling are great for complementing these flavors. Other white wines to consider with ham are Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay.

For a ham with smoky flavors, rosé is perfect for ensuring an even balance of flavors. For the best possible pairing, focus on French rosés made with Provençal grapes. These wines have a more complex flavor with ample minerally notes, which can offset some of the savory intensity of ham preparations. Thanks to Winkler's sage advice, you now have even more guidance to add to your essential wine-pairing tips.

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