Wines with Easter Ham
When you are matching a wine with ham it is necessary to specify whether the ham is
“smoked” or “cured. ” I’m assuming the ham is traditionally found on tables in Canada, which is baked or, in the case of pre-cooked and shrink-wrapped varieties, often boiled. It’s pink and, in flavour as well as colour, falls somewhere between white meat and dark. This offers much latitude where beverages are concerned.
Among whites, I suggest a New World chardonnay especially from Australia, California, Chile and British Columbia as they often exhibit a dense tropical-fruit essence, which matches the saltiness of the meat.
In the red category, go with a light, fruity, crisp wine like the Beaujolais-Villages or Cru de Beaujolais of the Gamay grape. If you must have something with a little more body you could go with a Côte du Rhone or Pinot Noir, still light but a tad richer in color and body. You may also want to go with a Rosé, preferably one with a smidgeon of sweetness to it. Canada, Spain, and France all make a nice rose´, though most of their grapes are generally on the drier side.
If you are making a sweet baked ham, I’d go with a Gewerz (though some people find them too floral and perfumed) or a Provençale rose´, a Brut rose champagne, a rose´ Zin or a lighter bodied white Zinfandel. Another alternative is a sparkling wine since the fizz will help cut the fat.
Remember the rule, sweet wine with sweet food, creamy wine with creamy food, etc. If a smoked or cured (not sweet) country style, I’d consider going “different” and serving a nice sherry, which will complement the smoke and salt wonderfully.
Over the holiday you may be eating a piece or two of chocolate. There is nothing quite like a bite of chocolate with a deep red wine like a California Zinfandel, Cline makes one with it’s own chocolate built right in, for a very affordable price. Your taste buds won’t disappoint you with Cab Sav’s and New World Shiraz’s.
This year is a time to experiment. Buy a bottle of a couple different grapes, do your own pairing so next year you will know what wine you will be serving with your Easter ham.
PS. For turkey lovers a Sauvignon Blanc or dry Riesling is your best bet, depending on your stuffing.
March 27, 2013