Best Wine Pairings with Country Ham| An Ultimate Guide

Country ham is a cherished staple of Southern cuisine, often served during holidays and special occasions. It is not just a delicious cured meat but also versatile in pairing with a variety of wines. 

Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or a fancy dinner party, country ham has always been a staple in American cuisine. But what wine goes with country ham?

Fear not, home cooks and wine enthusiasts alike, as we bring you the perfect wine pairing options for your next country ham dish. From bold reds to crisp whites, we’ve got you covered.

Pairing wine with country ham may seem daunting at first, but this guide will help you navigate the options and choose the perfect match for your next meal.

How to choose the best wine for country ham – A detailed guide

When pairing wine with country ham, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Firstly, consider the type of ham you are serving. If it is a smoked ham, then a fuller-bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah can hold up to the smoky flavors. 

However, if you are serving a salt-cured ham, like a prosciutto, a lighter red, like a Pinot Noir, or a white wine like a Chardonnay can complement the saltiness of the meat.

Another factor to consider is the accompaniments you will be serving with the ham. If you are serving a sweet glaze or fruit sauce, a white wine with some sweetness, like a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer, can balance out the flavors. 

best wine for country ham

On the other way, if you are serving a more savory side dish like roasted vegetables, a drier red wine like a Merlot or a Cabernet Franc can cut through the richness of the ham.

Lastly, don’t forget about the occasion when choosing your wine. If you’re having a casual, laid-back meal with friends, a less expensive bottle of wine can still be enjoyable. 

However, if you’re celebrating a special milestone or hosting a more formal gathering, investing in a higher-quality bottle can enhance the overall experience.

What wine goes with country ham

1. Red Wine

First off, let’s talk about the most popular pairing for country ham – a bold and full-bodied red wine. The richness and intense flavors of country ham are perfectly complemented by a glass of red wine. 

Red wine

A classic pairing is Pinot Noir, which has a smooth and earthy taste with a hint of fruitiness. 

Another great choice is a Zinfandel, which has a spicy and bold flavor that marries perfectly with the saltiness of the ham.

2. White Wine

If you’re looking for lighter wine, a crisp and refreshing white wine is also a great option for pairing with country ham. 

white wine

Try a medium-bodied Chardonnay, which boasts a buttery and oaky taste that complements the ham’s salty flavor. 

Alternatively, a Sauvignon Blanc has a citrusy and herbaceous taste that cuts through the saltiness and creates a harmonious balance of flavors.

Discover More: Best Food to Pair with White Wine

3. Sweet Wine

If you prefer a sweet wine, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered too! 

A sweet wine like a Riesling is a great match for country ham, especially if you add a hint of honey glaze to the ham. 

The sweetness of the wine enhances the saltiness of the ham and also offers an excellent balance to the flavors.

4. Sparkling Wine

Are you a sparkling wine lover? No problem, country ham pairs well with bubbly too! 

The effervescence of Champagne or Prosecco complements the saltiness of the ham, while its crisp acidity cleanses the palate between bites, making it a perfect pairing for a charcuterie board with country ham slices.

5. Dry Red Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon

A popular choice is a dry red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah. These wines have enough body and tannin to stand up to the rich flavor of the country ham while complementing its smokiness.

6. Unique Wine Flavors

If you want to experiment with unique wine flavors, consider trying a Sherry or a Madeira

These fortified wines bring a bold sweetness that can be an excellent contrast to the salty ham, creating a unique and memorable pairing experience.

What white wine goes with country ham

If you’re planning on serving country ham at your next dinner party, then you’ll definitely want to pair it with a refreshing and flavorful white wine. 

But with so many options available, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the 5 best white wines that perfectly complement the salty and savory flavors of country ham.

1. Chardonnay

Arguably the most popular white wine in the world, Chardonnay is an excellent choice to pair with country ham. 

This medium-bodied wine has a distinct buttery flavor that goes well with the rich and smoky taste of cured ham.

2. Sauvignon Blanc

Another popular white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, is a versatile choice thanks to its crisp and refreshing taste. 

Sauvignon Blanc

This wine is also known for its herbal notes, which pair well with the earthy flavors of country ham.

3. Viognier

A lesser-known white wine, Viognier is a great option for those who prefer a more aromatic wine. 

This medium to full-bodied wine has a rich and fruity flavor that complements the salty and savory taste of country ham.

4. Pinot Grigio

If you’re looking for a lighter wine that won’t overpower the flavors of country ham, then Pinot Grigio is the way to go. 

This wine has a subtle fruitiness that pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the ham.

5. Riesling

Finally, we have Riesling, a sweet and acidic white wine that complements the strong flavors of country ham. 


This wine is perfect for those who prefer a sweeter taste, and its acidity helps to cut through the fat of the ham.

Explore More: Best Food to Pair with Dry Riesling

What red wine goes with ham

When it comes to pairing red wine with country ham, there are a few options that can really elevate the experience. Here are our top picks for the 5 best red wines to pair with this Southern classic:

1. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied wine that has a lightness that complements the saltiness of country ham without overwhelming it. Look for one with bright fruit flavors and soft tannins.

Find Out More: A Guide to Pairing Pinot Noir with Delicious Dishes

2. Syrah

With bold flavors of blackberry, pepper, and smoke, Syrah can stand up to the intense flavor of country ham. Its robust tannins also help to cut through the fat of the ham, creating a well-balanced pairing.

3. Zinfandel

A classic American wine, Zinfandel has a spicy, fruity flavor that works beautifully with the smoky, salty flavor of country ham. Look for an old vine Zinfandel for the most complexity and depth.

4. Merlot


A smoother, more refined wine, Merlot pairs well with the subtler flavors of country ham. Notes of cherry, plum, and chocolate make for a delightful combination.

Learn More: Best Food Pairing Options: Merlot Madness

5. Malbec

This full-bodied Argentinean wine has a deep, rich flavor profile with notes of black fruit, chocolate, and tobacco. Its bold tannins and acidity make it a great partner for the salty, smoky flavors of country ham.

Wrap Up

That concludes our guide to wine pairing for country ham. Remember, when it comes to pairing wine with food, it’s all about exploring and finding what works best for you. 

However, with these options, you’re bound to find the perfect match for your country ham dish. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different wine varietals to find your favorite pairing. 

With these tips and tricks, you can impress your guests and elevate your next country ham meal. Cheers!


Does a rose wine go with ham?

Yes, rose wine can go nicely with ham. The light fruitiness and acidity of the wine cut through the richness of the pork and bring out its natural sweetness. 

Depending on how salty or sweet your ham is, you may want to serve it with a sweeter or drier rose. 

A dry rose will work great if your ham is on the saltier side, while a slightly sweeter one works better for a ham that’s not heavily salted. 

Be sure not to overpower the delicate flavors of your ham by choosing a too-sweet rose—an off-dry or semi-dry style should be just right. Serve chilled to maximize its refreshing qualities!

In addition, a zesty rose wine can be a great companion to smoked ham. The smoky flavor of the meat pairs nicely with the bright acidity and minerality of the wine, while its tannins help to balance out the intensity of the smoke. 

A rich and bold rose will enhance the flavors of your meal without overwhelming it, allowing you to enjoy all the nuances that make smoked ham so special. Serve at room temperature for best results!

Do you drink red or white wine with ham?

When it comes to pairing ham with wine, there is no right or wrong answer. Red and white wines can both be enjoyed with ham, depending on your personal preferences and the type of ham you are serving. 

For a milder, sweeter ham, a medium-bodied Chardonnay is an excellent choice as it will bring out the subtle sweetness of the meat. 

A fruity Pinot Noir is also an ideal pairing for this type of ham, as its light body won’t overpower the delicate flavor. 

For a more robustly flavored ham, such as smoked or cured varieties, a bolder red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon can be a delicious accompaniment. This full-bodied wine has enough tannins and acidity to stand up to the intense flavor of smoked ham. 

A fruit-forward Merlot also pairs well with richer, smokier hams. 
So, when it comes down to choosing a wine for your ham dinner, experiment and pick what suits your palate best!

What wine goes well with honey ham?

When it comes to pairing wine with honey ham, you want something that can stand up to the sweetness without overwhelming it. 

A good rule of thumb is to choose a wine that is at least as sweet or slightly sweeter than the ham itself. 

This could include white wines such as an oaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Viognier; blush wines such as a White Zinfandel; and even some dessert wines like Moscato or Riesling. 

However, if you prefer a dryer option, you can opt for something like Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc. 

For red wine lovers, Beaujolais Nouveau or Merlot are both excellent choices for your honey ham dishes. 

Ultimately, the wine you choose should be a balance of sweetness, body, and acidity to match the flavor profile of your dish. Enjoy!

What wine is best for ham on Thanksgiving?

The best type of wine to pair with ham on Thanksgiving is a medium-bodied red like Pinot Noir. 

This type of wine has fruity, earthy notes that will complement the saltiness of the ham and bring out its flavor.
Other good options include light-bodied whites such as Chardonnay or Riesling, both of which have bright acidity that will cut through the richness of the dish. Whatever you decide to serve, make sure to pour generously! Cheers!

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