Top pairings | Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas ham

Pairings | Rioja Blanco

Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas ham

If you're serving a ham or gammon as a roast this Christmas you need a more substantial wine with it than when you serve ham as a cold cut. Which one depends on the glaze.

Recipes vary hugely but generally include some element of sweetness to counteract the saltiness of the meat. There may be spice in the glaze too which calls for a red with generous ripe fruit - in other words an element of sweetness too. Here are some suggestions:

Grenache and grenache blends

Providing your glaze isn’t too sweet try a grenache or grenache blend from the South of France or Australia. That includes Côtes du Rhône but also the popular blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, often shortened to GSM.

Medium to full-bodied shiraz

But not too alcoholic or tannic, I’d suggest. Lovely ripe juicy fruit is just what you want with ham

Chilean merlot or carmenère

Soft and ripe, just the ticket. Good value, too.


Not the light, gulpable kind but a serious ‘cru’ Beaujolais like a Morgon. For those who like ‘old world’ wines with a bit more acidity

Central Otago pinot noir

The richest of New Zealand’s pinot noirs this would work particularly well with sweeter glazes or ones that include star anise or five spice

Barossa semillon

Semillon tastes of pineapple and pineapple and ham go together so semillon and ham should be a perfect match, right? Absolutely, but I’d go for rich lush Barossa Valley semillon rather than the lighter Hunter Valley style.

And for the leftovers I’d suggest a light juicy Beaujolais or other gamay, a lighter pinot noir or a Chablis.

You may also find this post 20 Christmas wine pairings to learn by heart useful.

Photo © Brent Hofacker -

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