What Wine Goes Good With Ham

When it comes to pairing food with wine, there are countless options to take into account. As a wine lover, one of my greatest culinary quests is finding the ideal wine to complement a delectable …

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When it comes to pairing food with wine, there are countless options to take into account. As a wine lover, one of my greatest culinary quests is finding the ideal wine to complement a delectable ham. Whether it’s a glazed holiday ham or a juicy Easter ham, the proper wine can enhance the tastes and make for a truly unforgettable dining experience.

Ham is a versatile meat that can be prepared in various ways, which means the wine pairing options are equally diverse. From dry whites to bold reds, there is a wine out there to complement every type of ham dish.

Gamay: A Light and Fruity Companion

When enjoying a classic glazed ham, a light-bodied red wine like Gamay is an excellent choice. Gamay wines are known for their bright acidity and fruity flavors, which perfectly balance the sweetness of the glaze. The wine’s juicy red fruit notes, such as cherry and raspberry, harmonize with the succulent flavors of the ham, creating a delightful combination.

One Gamay wine that I highly recommend is a Beaujolais. Beaujolais wines are made from the Gamay grape and offer a fresh and vibrant character. Their low tannins and refreshing acidity make them a versatile choice that pairs well with a variety of ham dishes.

Riesling: A Perfect Match for Smoked Ham

For those who prefer a smoky and savory ham, a Riesling wine is an ideal companion. Riesling’s naturally high acidity and delicate sweetness help cut through the richness of the smoked flavors, enhancing both the wine and the ham. This aromatic white wine offers a range of flavors, from crisp green apple to ripe peach, which beautifully complement the smoky nuances of the ham.

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I personally enjoy a German Riesling with my smoked ham. The wine’s vibrant acidity provides a refreshing contrast to the smokiness, while its natural sweetness adds a touch of complexity to the pairing. Look for a Riesling labeled Kabinett or Spätlese for a slightly sweeter profile that balances the salty, smoky flavors of the ham.

Chardonnay: A Classic Choice for Baked Ham

When it comes to baked ham, a rich and buttery Chardonnay is a classic choice. The wine’s full-bodied texture and creamy flavors beautifully complement the tender and aromatic qualities of the ham. Chardonnay’s notes of tropical fruits, vanilla, and toasted oak add a luxurious dimension to the pairing.

For a baked ham, I recommend opting for a Chardonnay from California or Burgundy. California Chardonnays tend to be fruit-forward with a hint of oak, while Burgundy Chardonnays offer more subtle notes of citrus and mineral. Both styles can enhance the flavors of the ham and provide a delightful contrast of textures.


Pairing wine with ham opens up a world of possibilities. Whether you choose a light-bodied red like Gamay, a crisp and aromatic Riesling, or a rich and buttery Chardonnay, the right wine can elevate your ham dish to new heights. I encourage you to experiment with different wine and ham pairings to discover your personal favorite. Cheers to a delicious dining experience!

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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