If your local newspaper has a weekly food section, you’ll soon be reading about the wine conundrum that accompanies the upcoming Thanksgiving feast.
We touched upon the topic here last week, and now we’d like to concentrate on one specific aspect: what type of wine to pour if the main course in your household is ham, rather than turkey.
In this increasingly time-crunched world, many families have migrated from preparing the entire feast at home to picking up certain prepared items at the supermarket to “outsourcing” the whole meal. That’s one reason the popularity of Honey-Baked Ham has exploded. It’s pre-cooked, pre-sliced, and just as delicious cold (perhaps even more so) than it is hot.
Even with that sweet, crunchy topping that defines the Honey-Baked Ham, the overriding palate impression provided by ham is saltiness. Just as we match wine to the flavor of a pasta dish’s sauce, we select wines to accompany ham based on how they mesh with saltiness.
Since salt creates thirst, the best wines are those that have bright acidity. While every wine carries the “trademark” of the man or woman who made it, we can generally say that appropriate choices would include:
* Whites – Riesling, Pinot Grgio, Torrontes, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer and sparkling Brut.
* Reds – Beaujolais (particularly Nouveau), Grenache, Chianti and sparkling Blanc de Noirs.
Keep in mind that the wine’s color doesn’t matter nearly as much as its “mouthfeel” – i.e., the impression on the palate. So it’s perfectly fine – and perhaps even inspired – to drink white wine with a red meat such as ham.