With the holidays right at our doorstep, it's time to eat, drink, and be merry! Holiday hams are a staple for the season for many, even for some naughty Jews and Muslims! (Imagine that: ham, the great unifier.)
We digress. Here we go with Ham x Wine x Music pairings.
Peanut-fed Serrano ham: When you’re talking dry, salty ham with some delicate flavors, there are several ways to go. Sparkling wine is a great choice, especially a sparkling rosé. A good, bracing still rosé would work too. Mineral undertones, bone-dry.
Listen to Joao Gilberto, the man who reimagined bossa nova. He will make you feel sexy while you dine. Warning: the urge to dance to him is overwhelming.
Aged country ham: What to pair with the slightly sweet, meaty taste of this classic American ham? Something that holds up but doesn't overwhelm. If you like dry, I’d go with a riesling, chenin blanc or a merlot. On the sweeter end, moscato, brachetto d’acqui, vin santo and white port would work perfectly.
Listen to Red Clay Ramblers. . .yup, Appalachian string music. (Nailed it!)
Smoked ham: To cut through the smokiness you’ll need a medium-bodied red with prominent fruit and good acidity. Some good choices: Grenache-based reds such as a Paso Robles GSM blend, a big zinfandel, a new world pinot noir (go California rather than Oregon). Some Italian wines would work too: tempranillo, nebbiolo, sangiovese, primitivo and dry lambrusco.
Listen to Gipsy Kings, specifically the Hotel California Spanish Remix.
Jambon de Bayonne: This air-dried salted ham would go well with still rosé, crisp white wines with herbal undertones, dry sherry (maybe a Fino or Manzanilla), or dry madeira.
Listen to Bayonne-born jazz guitarist Sylvain Luc.