Challenging Wine Pairing: Spiral Baked Ham

By LaGayle ~ January 19th, 2010.

Baked HamAs I reflect on meals that I have enjoyed in the past, baked ham has always been a favorite. It is a popular holiday or special occasion menu item and is usually one that many people enjoy. As I think about ham menus, I am reminded of the menu my mother-in-law used many times for our holiday meals. We were served ham, green beans, a macaroni/tomato side dish which John and his sisters affectionately called “noodle goop,” and a layered gelatin and cream cheese salad.  While this combination was always enjoyed by everyone, I thought I would alter the menu a little and experiment to determine what wines would work best with it.

For this challenging wine pairing meal, my menu included mixed greens with raspberries, spiral baked ham, corn on the cob (a favorite of my 2 year old granddaughter), and baked creamed spinach. Once again, I referred to my favorite reference book, What to Drink with What You Eat, to select my wines for the meal. After reading their recommendations, I decided to try a Beaujolais Cru and a Riesling. As in some of our previous challenges, I thought it would be fun to see if a red or a white wine paired better with the ham.

2008 Efeste Evergreen Riesling and 2008 Dominique Piron Morgon Cote du Py Cru du BeaujolaisThe two wines that I selected were the 2008 Dominique Piron Morgon Cote du Py Cru du Beaujolais and the 2008 Efeste Evergreen Riesling. We enjoyed both wines; however, the overwhelming favorite and the unanimous choice of what paired best with the meal was the Riesling.  The crispness and floral flavors of the Efeste Evergreen Riesling were exceptional and married well with the sweet and savory flavors of the food.

Bon Appétit!

2008 Efeste Evergreen Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, straw yellow with green tinges. Gorgeous nose with aromas of peach, honey, and flowers. Flavors of peach, pear, apricot, and lemon tart. Dry, light to medium-bodied, and crisp with a long finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $14.99; Available elsewhere, $16 to $17

2008 Dominique Piron Morgon Cote du Py Cru du Beaujolais (Morgon, Beaujolais, France): Grape: Gamay. Ruby red and aromatic. Strawberry, boysenberry, earth, leather, and faint feed lot aromas lead to red fruit flavors, particularly cherry. Medium-bodied and lively with soft tannins and a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $22.99

Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, French Wine, Gamay, Red Wine, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Phil Anderson | January 19th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    We had a similar problem at our Boxing Day 2009 party, the day after Christmas, where we served honey baked ham and not sure what to pair with it. We decided to try a Zinfandel and a Dry Riesling. Both fared very well. I hadn’t thought of the Beaujolais. Really, that has turned into a rather “go to” wine for us in our house. I should’ve thought of that! Thank you for this post.

  2. Kori | January 19th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for sharing your ham pairing experience. We really had fun with this challenge. Now you have an excuse to have another ham meal to give the Beaujolais a try with it. While we thought the Riesling paired better, the Beaujolais was an excellent choice for a red option. Cheers!

  3. Sean O'Connor | January 19th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I’ve found the sparkling wines go great with the ham and are perfect for most occasions when the ham is trotted out. Even better if you make some kind of cheesy potatoes.

    I’m especially fond of the Mountain Dome Brut, but Karma also makes a great Methode Champenoise.

  4. Kori | January 19th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for the recommendation. We’ll have to give sparkling wine a try with our ham next time. Sounds great! I agree that Mountain Dome is an excellent sparkling choice. Cheers!

  5. MichByTheBottle | January 19th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I’ve found that Riesling pairs well with many hard to pair foods. Keep up the great work.

  6. Kori | January 21st, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    You are absolutely right; Riesling is very versatile and food friendly. Cheers!