Pairing challenge - red wine with jamon serrano

Due to bad planning, I had an excess of Serrano ham left over after New Year’s so I’ve been having a piece or two every night with dinner. It’s delicious, but dang if it hasn’t made every wine (all red) we’ve had for dinner taste like crap. I’m thinking it’s the salt, though the saltiness does not taste excessive when just eating the ham. Tuscany, Ribera, Rhone, Burg, all taste sour and nasty when paired with the ham. Then a bite of whatever the main course is, and a sip of the wine, and the wine is fine.

And it is literally a streak at this point - the wines are 0-fer against the ham.

I’m sure a riesling or the like would be just fine, but what do you all think about reds? Anyone found one that works? Huge zin maybe?

I’m thinking:
Loire Cab Franc
Off-dry bubbles

Unoaked Bierzo (mencia)

Tastes like crap already, so how bad can it be.

The salt calls for sweetness. Try a California Pinot Noir that you would otherwise never let in the house.
You know, the big goopy Russian River kind.


Lambrusco was my thought too. Often an ideal pairing with charcuterie. Young, fruity beaujolais also a good option.

I’d been thinking Beaujolais might be worth a shot, hadn’t thought of Bierzo/mencia or Lambrusco. Lambrusco is out for now since there isn’t any in the house, and of course I would never let a big goopy CA pinot in the front door either. I wonder if an unoaked mondeuse would work as well?

As for Mr. Polar Bear, normally you like good wines, surprised to hear you don’t have the mencia gene. [snort.gif] [cheers.gif]

But for tonight, it’s the rest of last night’s Chianti, so I’ll probably just skip the ham.

Brachetto dAcqui
Thank me later [cheers.gif]

Now, that I’m sure would work. Excellent thought, but again none in the house at the moment. Don’t think I’ve ever even seen one in these parts other than Banfi’s rosa regale.

White Rioja. With a little age. Maybe.

Often mistaken for a red wine. :slight_smile:


He said “Bad planning” … yeah you expect us to believe that? Sure. LOL!!

A glass of Madeira would be perfect with it. Or a 20 year Tawny Port would also work but the Madeira is better IMO.

Hard to think of many wines that WOULDN’T go with jamon serrano. You must be so much more particular than I am, that I don’t have confidence how to reply. Seemingly any Italian or Spanish wine should be easy, but again, your palate seems to be different.

Rose champagne … wrap the jamon around a quality breadstick!

Sweet Riesling [Mosel/Nahe/Rhine/etc] and salted pork were made for one another.

You can also serve bubblies [white or pink] with salted pork, although be forewarned that the more penetrating Champagnes will draw out the wood treatment of the pork [hickory or oak or whatever] to the point that the wood treatment can become overpowering.

If you insist on a dry red, then you might look for a Puzelat Pineau d’Aunis [Chenin Noir], or, for about three to five times as much money, you could look at a Paolo Bea Sagrantino Secco.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more full-bodied red, with some flavor & maybe just a touch of residual sugar, then see if you can get your hands on that Gran Appasso Rosso Passito - Luca Maroni 98 pts - what is this stuff??? - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers.

+1 My thoughts exactly. My go to wines for dry-cured meats are easy-going Nebbiolo (Valtellina, Langhe), old school Barbera, Chianti Classico and Champagne but really I do not think I have ever had a problem enjoying any good savory red with serrano (or the Italian counterparts).

Yeah, in Spain they have it with lots of reds and I’m happy to have it with pretty much anything.

But there is something to be said for a big and fruity wine - fruit just works with ham in almost any form. So a Zin or something like that would work. We had Brachetto with it last summer and that’s great - but please don’t get that Banfi - it’s like a soft drink, too sweet and horrible.

I don’t know about Mencia - that’s a grape that usually doesn’t have fruit front and center. We do it, but I think that some other examples would be better.

My thought is fruit, too — Grenache or Zin. Or a higher-dosage sparkler.

I know you said you don’t have any, but Lambrusco Amabile is the obvious answer. Many people will suggest (and already have) dry red wines that won’t work for you. They’re not as sensitive to the clashing effect that’s ruining the pairings you’ve already tried. Some people drink dry reds with things like tuna as well. For you and me, that would be a terrible idea.