Ham is a sweet, salty, and rich cured meat that goes well with lively white wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. The fruity flavours of the wine are complemented by the saltiness of the Ham, while a tropical citrus tang refreshes your taste buds against the meat. Acidic, lighter reds like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, and Zinfandel also make for magnificent Ham and wine pairings as they offer a lot of refreshing fruitiness against the saltiness of the Ham while complementing the smokiness of a Baked Ham.
There are dozens of types of Ham, however, in this blog, I mostly focus on Ham you would serve at a banquet or holiday dinner like Christmas or Easter. For more specific pairings for Serrano, Bayonne, or Jamón Ibérico, check out our Ham and Food Pairing table below, or our main Food and Wine Pairing Database.
|Red Wine||Beaujolais Cru||Ham|
|Red Wine||Pinot Noir||Ham|
|Sparkling Wine||Sparkling Wine, Rosé||Ham|
|Rosé||Rosé||Black Forest Ham|
|Red Wine||Zinfandel||Black Forest Ham|
|Pop||Beezlenut Splash||Green Eggs and Ham|
|White Wine||Riesling||Honey Baked Ham|
|White Wine||Chenin Blanc||Honey Baked Ham|
|Rosé||White Zinfandel||Honey Baked Ham|
|White Wine||Riesling||Split Pea & Ham Soup|
|Beer||Pilsner||Serrano Ham with Melted Brie|
|Beer||Pilsner||French Grilled Gruyere & Ham|
|White Wine||Bouzeron||Ham with Parsley|
|Beer||Oatmeal Stout||Hickory Smoked Ham|
|Red Wine||Chiroubles - Beaujolais Cru||Ham|
|Red Wine||Chiroubles - Beaujolais Cru||Ham Sandwich|
|Red Wine||Côtes du Rhône, Red||Omelette with Ham & Mushroom|
|White Wine||Pinot Gris||Omelette with Ham & Mushroom|
|Red Wine||Burgundy, Red||Ham|
|White Wine||Chardonnay, Unoaked||Ham|
|White Wine||Pinot Grigio||Ham|
|Red Wine||Beaujolais||Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Gruyere)|
|Red Wine||Côtes du Rhône, Red||Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Gruyere)|
|White Wine||Grüner Veltliner||Ham|
|Beer||Kentucky Common||Ham Sandwich|
|Red Wine||Zweigelt||Black Forest Ham|
|Red Wine||Dornfelder||Black Forest Ham|
|Red Wine||Tempranillo Reserva||Black Forest Ham|
|Red Wine||Nebbiolo||Black Forest Ham|
|Red Wine||Sangiovese||Black Forest Ham|
|Red Wine||Lambrusco Secco (dry)||Black Forest Ham|
|Dessert Wine||Moscato d'Asti||Honey Baked Ham|
|Dessert Wine||Brachetto d'Acqui||Honey Baked Ham|
|Dessert Wine||Vin Santo||Honey Baked Ham|
|Red Wine||Shiraz||Honey Baked Ham|
|Red Wine||Pinotage, South Africa||Honey Baked Ham|
|Red Wine||Petite Sirah||Honey Baked Ham|
|Red Wine||Anjou-Gamay||Grilled Ham|
|Red Wine||Fronsac||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Bordeaux AOC Red||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Luberon AOP - Red||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Côtes du Rhône Villages Puyméras - AOP||Bayonne Ham|
|Rosé||Bordeaux Clairet||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Côtes de Bourg, Red||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Corbières, Red (AOC)||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Côtes du Rhône Villages, Red||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux (AOP)||Bayonne Ham|
|White Wine||Côtes de Bourg, White||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|White Wine||Côtes de Provence, White AOC||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|White Wine||Coteaux du Lyonnais White (AOP)||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|Fortified Wine||Floc de Gascogne - AOP||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|Dessert Wine||Loupiac - AOP||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|White Wine||Grignan-Les Adhemar - White||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|White Wine||Bordeaux AOC White||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|White Wine||Vézelay||Ham with Parsley|
|White Wine||Garnacha Blanca||Ham|
|Other||Pear Cider||Grilled Ham|
|Fortified Wine||Madeira, Verdelho||Ham|
|White Wine||Pinot Blanc Alsace||Bayonne Ham with Melon|
|Dessert Wine||Late Harvest Gewürztraminer||Diced Ham with Crystal Sugar|
|Red Wine||Chénas - Beaujolais Cru||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Brouilly - Beaujolais Cru||Bayonne Ham|
|Red Wine||Brouilly - Beaujolais Cru||Ham|
|Red Wine||Beaujolais||Ham and Haddie (Haddock)|
|Red Wine||Chinon, Red (AOC)||Ham and Haddie (Haddock)|
|Red Wine||Valpolicella Classico / Rosso||Ham and Haddie (Haddock)|
|Red Wine||Bardolino Superiore||Ham and Haddie (Haddock)|
|Red Wine||Valpolicella Classico / Rosso||Ham|
|White Wine||Soave Classico||Split Pea & Ham Soup|
|Red Wine||Pinot Noir||Omelette with Ham & Mushroom|
|White Wine||Riesling||Omelette with Ham & Mushroom|
|Red Wine||Chinon, Red (AOC)||Ham|
|Liquor||Bourbon and Bourbon Cocktails||Ham|
|Red Wine||Macon, Red||Ham|
|Red Wine||Tempranillo Crianza||Ham|
|White Wine||Chardonnay||Ham with Pineapple|
|Rosé||Rosé||Ham with Pineapple|
|White Wine||Rioja, White||Serrano|
|Sparkling Wine||Sparkling Wine||Serrano|
|Beer||Beer||Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Gruyere)|
|Red Wine||Merlot||Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Gruyere)|
|Rosé||Rosé||Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Gruyere)|
|Beer||English Brown Ale||Ham|
|Red Wine||Vinsobres||Bayonne Ham|
|White Wine||Orvieto (DOC)||Ham|
New World Pinot Noir & Black Forest Ham Pairing
With the sweetness and saltiness of Ham, a medium-bodied and fruity wine like Pinot Noir is a must. Full-bodied and tannic red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz will not complement the ham’s sweetness, nor will they be as refreshing, due to a lack of acidity when paired with Ham.
Pinot Noir is a sassy red wine featuring juicy notes of cherries, strawberries and raspberries that offer a refreshing contrast against the saltiness of your Ham. While it sounds simple, Pinot Noir is also complex and delivers subtle flavours of dark chocolate, leather, smoke, truffles and tobacco. It’s these subtle earthy notes that drive wine enthusiasts wild, as they are always fleeting and teasing. When Pinot Noir is made well, it knows just how to give you a taste of how elegant it is while remaining flirty, silky and smooth.
When paired up with Ham, California, and New Zealand Pinot Noir will be a bigger crowd-pleaser as the wines often taste more fruity and less earthy than old-world Pinot Noir. The crowd-pleasing friendliness of a new world Pinot Noir is perfect for buffets, banquets or family dinners where Ham is served as many of the attendees might not be familiar with wine. Thus, serving an expensive Pinot Noir, like Burgundy, will go right over their head.
If you want good Pinot Noir, it is costly as it is a difficult wine to grow and a finicky wine to create. Expect to pay $40 and up for good quality Pinot Noir, which does not make it ideal for larger events. If budget is an issue, you could buy an inexpensive bottle and risk getting something more in common with a laboratory than a vineyard. Or, I would suggest picking one of the many red wines off our Ham and Wine Pairing Table above.
Riesling and Honey Glazed Ham
A sweeter variety of Ham, such as a Honey Glazed Ham or Glazed Baked Ham, pairs well with an off-dry Riesling. Riesling is full of apple, peach and citrus flavours, making it a good match for Ham, as pineapple is typically associated with this meat. Riesling’s subtle sweetness and notes of honey match the Ham’s sweetness, plus, there is a minerality to Riesling that complements the earthier flavours of Ham. Meanwhile, the bright acidity and citrus flavours contrast nicely with the saltiness of the meat.
Many people assume Riesling is a sweet wine, however, Off-dry Riesling means that the wine has a kiss of sugar. The slight sweetness makes Riesling a wonderful match for buffets or brunches where Ham is served as many of the other fixings (maple-glazed carrots, pancakes, squash mixed with brown sugar, turnip and sweet potato mash) will be slightly sweet as well. Thus, I often suggest bringing Riesling to Easter or Christmas dinners where Ham is served. However, as since so many people have preconceived notions of Riesling being sweet, it might be a hard sell. Thus, if you want to play it safe, move on to Pinot Grigio, which I talk about below.
Pinot Grigio & Easter Ham
Pinot Grigio is a huge crowd-pleaser. Light and neutral in flavour, people seem to love the dry flavours of apple, pear, smoke and mineral that Pinot Grigio delivers. While there are dozens of other white wines I would recommend before Pinot Grigio, nobody is going to complain if you bring this to an Easter dinner as Pinot Grigio is inoffensive. Pinot Grigio won’t overpower the Ham, plus it’s got enough weight to hold up to many of the other dishes served at Easter like Turkey, Pasta Salad, Coleslaw, Mixed Veggies and Dinner rolls. With Prime Rib, Pinot Grigio will be crushed and taste like water, but very few white wines will hold up to beef anyway.
With Ham, the acidity of Pinot Grigio keeps you refreshed against the salty flavours of the Pork while charming you with its crisp flavours of green apple, lemon, pear and melon.
Rosé & Ham Brunch
While Ham might be the star of an Easter Brunch, you also have to think about the many other side dishes that might be served. Mimosas (which are a blend of Orange Juice and Sparkling Wine) are often served at brunch as they are bubbly, sweet and acidic. Plus, they are fun to drink as they are in a long-stemmed flute. The acidity ensures the Mimosa is food-friendly, as acidity highlights all the individual flavours of the foods. Meanwhile, the sweetness of a Mimosa complements the sweetness of the Ham and many of the other side dishes at brunch, such as Pancakes, French Toast, Waffles, light salads and Pasta Salads.
But Mimosas can get old after one glass. It’s enjoyable at first but soon comes off as too sweet as it’s not a subtle drink. This is where Rosé comes in as it’s often crisp and acidic like a Mimosa but far less sweet. Sure, Rosé looks like it’s going to taste like candy due to its pink colour, however, the wine is remarkably dry (assuming you buy a dry Rosé).
Crisp with delicious flavours of cherry, raspberry, strawberry and watermelon, Rosé has a perceived sweetness as it tastes fruity, but it remains dry, meaning it won’t overpower any lighter dishes on your plate. You’ll also get interesting notes of herbs, mineral, peach and white pepper that add further interest and excitement to this underrated wine.
In North American, most men are too macho to drink Rosé (and Mimosas), thus, if you’re looking for a red wine to appease their masculinity, serve a Beaujolais Villages at your Easter Brunch, which I discuss below.
Beaujolais-Villages Wine and Ham Sandwiches Pairing
Beaujolais Villages is the perfect red wine to serve with Easter Ham at a buffet. Still, it’s also undoubtedly delicious with Ham leftovers such as Western Sandwiches, Split Pea and Ham Soup, and Ham Sandwiches. Light, fruity and inexpensive, Beaujolais Villages is charming with its juicy notes of cherries, raspberry and strawberry, making it perfect with any Ham leftovers as it’s an incredibly versatile red wine.
Because a Ham Sandwich isn’t a filling meal, a Beaujolais makes for a great paring partner as it won’t fill you up either. Low in alcohol, Beaujolais comes off as refreshing and won’t make you feel tired or tipsy after drinking it. This is perfect, as Ham Sandwiches are often served at lunch, so the low alcohol nature of Beaujolais allows you to go about the rest of your day without feeling like you need a nap.
Beaujolais-Villages also offers enough depth to impress a wine enthusiast (it is a French wine, after all), as you’ll find interesting notes of mineral, herbs, earth and black pepper that are subtle, and often only noticed if you are looking for them. Meanwhile, the high acidity of Beaujolais easily washes away any ham, mustard, cheese, or mayonnaise flavours that are gumming up your taste buds, which ensures each bite tastes as fresh as the first.