Ham

Jukes Wine And Food Gammon

Smart Cru Beaujolais, Chilean Merlot or Carmenère, youthful Spanish Tempranillo, Italian Nero d’Avola, Montepulciano or Negroamaro and youthful, inexpensive South African Merlot all have the essential juiciness to complement a glorious ham. The golden rule is to avoid any tannic or heavily acidic reds – stick to more mellow styles. There is a splinter group for whom heady whites also work – busty Viognier and lusty Chardonnay would do the task well. Parma ham and melon, prosciutto, jamón Serrano and pata negra all like dry German Riesling (Mosel, Rheingau or Pfalz), many of the aromatic whites from Trentino, Alto Adige and Friuli (northern Italy), and Verdejo or lightly oaked Viura from Rueda (Spain). Honey-roast ham needs mouth-filling, textural, bone-dry whites like ‘dry’ Muscat, Viognier, Verdelho and Riesling. Search for these in Alsace, Australia, the Rhône Valley and from the vast array of terrific French Country wines (and grab some ripe figs to eat alongside – so exotic and erotic!). Ham hock with lentils or boiled Jersey potatoes and beetroot (or garden peas) is a treat with posh, dry rosé, and there are a fair few out there, so head to the southern Rhône and Provence or richer examples of Sancerre rosé or Garnacha Rosados from Spain. Smoked ham has a fairly strong aroma and lingering flavour, so Pinot Gris and young Vendange Tardive level Rieslings from Alsace would be exact, as would older Aussie Rieslings. If you favour red wine then choose a Merlot, a Cabernet Franc (from Australia or the Loire) or a Beaujolais and chill it a degree or two to perk up its acidity. Gammon steak (sling the grim addition of pineapple or peaches) makes a neat partnership with oily, unoaked whites. All Alsatian wines and most dry German Rieslings would be delicious, as would the world-class Rieslings from Australia’s Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Tasmania and Frankland River. New Zealand Pinot Gris would also be interesting. Semillon rarely gets the call up for a specific dish, but Aussie versions from the Hunter Valley and dry white Bordeaux are simply stunning with ham, too.