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What To Drink With Ham

It’s the South’s favorite vegetable. If you are in a place where seersucker is acceptable, nay encouraged and you say “Coke” to mean any soft-drink, then you are likely to see in this weekend on Easter tables rather than the more traditional lamb. It’s ham. The question is, what do you drink with it?

If it’s derby day, and you’re being all traditional about it there is the mint julep. Tread lightly here, and it might be a good idea to set the pace-car a little slower. There is, of course, always beer, but then again, there is always beer.

You might think that wine and ham don’t play well together, but that’s only because you lack vision. A good place to start is Italy where they’ve raised ham to an art-form, even if you go for a country ham rather than prosciutto.

Orveito grechetto is an Italian white that you don’t hear a lot about, but is delicious. Admittedly they are hard to find, but if you close your eyes, it tastes almost like a rosé – light, yes, with a hint of sweetness to go with the savory.

Less hard to find is a chenin blanc, which is light and crisp. Or, for that matter, just drink a rosé.

I really do mean a hint of sweetness. It’s a personal thing, but I really don’t like sweet wines. Yet you need something ham’s inherent saltiness, and a minerally white Bordeaux (as wonderful as they are) doesn’t quite fit.

Chardonnay leaps to mind, but again I run into personal baggage in that I’m not a fan. Except that I am. No one had ever asked me to review a white Burgundy before, so I’d never looked into it, but they are pretty much 100% chardonnay grapes. I suppose is something that we need to file under the mysteries of French terrior. The end result is a white wine that is sort of like the chard, but without the oaky, buttery, ladies-night-out feel.

If you are a dedicated red drinker, try a Beaujolais, or outside the motherland, Gamay, which will give you a jammy counter to the savory of the ham.

And you can’t go wrong with champagne. Why not, just drink like it’s your anniversary.


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