We all know that a glass of red wine best accompanies jamon Iberico and Serrano because it is a classic. It is impossible to imagine this sweet couple separately and refute their perfect combination. However, today we will reveal a secret, and you will find out if there is an alternative to red wine in tandem with Spanish ham.
What to drink with jamon Iberico and Serrano? In Spain, sommeliers recommend drinking red wines like Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell with jamon. The Jamon Museum bar offers a glass of Rioja Garnacha or Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero with Iberico ham. Jamon also goes well with white wines like Riesling, Sauvignon blanc or Spanish albariños.
Jamon Iberico and Serrano Drink Pairings
What wine to drink with jamon Iberico? Spanish sommeliers recommend drinking Pinot Noir, Barolo, Barbaresco, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Spanish albariños as Iberico pork wine pairing. Iberico ham also goes well with Fino Sherry which has a multi-layered aroma with nutty and floral tones, as well as unusual freshness and fullness of taste.
The longer the jamon is aged, the better it goes with red wines.
A mature burgundy, not oversaturated with oak, is well suited for jamon Iberico and Serrano. In such a wine, the aggressive notes in the aroma and taste have already gone, but the freshness remains. Light fruity tones emphasize the smoky notes of ripe Iberico and Serrano ham, and the fat content of the ham is not diminished by the freshness of the wine.
Medium-Aged Jamon (less than 12 months) and Pinot Noir
Young (3-4-year-old) Burgundy pinot noir or young (5-6 year old) Barolo or Barbaresco are good choices for medium-aged jamon. There is an opinion that not only red but also some white wines like Riesling quite successfully complement the taste of Iberico and Serrano ham.
Young Jamon Iberico and Rieslings
The Riesling should be young with mineral tones and with slight oak shades. There is almost no salt in young Iberico, and smoky tones are present, a young, aggressive Riesling will complement them.
Jamon Serrano and Sauvignon Blanc or Spanish Alborino
Young Serrano ham is meatier and rather salty, with a minimal amount of “dry fat”, typical for more mature samples. Based on this, juicy, fresh white Sauvignons that have not been barrel-aged or more fruity but with good acidity like Albariño from Spain will be an excellent accompaniment to Serrano.
According to experts, jamon is harmoniously combined with Fino Sherry, which has a multi-layered aroma with nutty and floral tones, as well as unusual freshness and fullness of taste. Others, on the contrary, a pair of jamon with rich Manzanilla Sherry seemed more attractive.
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White Wine vs. Red — Which Is Better For Jamon Iberico and Serrano?
The famous Barcelona sommelier Arnau Marco, founder and CEO of ConsultVi, author of wine lists for many restaurants, has disproved the popular myth about the perfect pairing of red wine and jamon Iberico and Serrano. According to Marco, if jamon can still be consumed with young red wines, more mature varieties are not served with Iberian ham.
In an interview with the 20 Minutos newspaper, Marco said that such a fatty product like Iberico ham should not be accompanied by red wine. It is better to go with more acidic drinks, for example, slightly aged white wine, cava or champagne. Also, the expert included sherry in this list.
“Not so long ago in Spain, they said:“ The best white wine is red,” the sommelier reminded. “This phrase perfectly reflected the current situation in the market. Until recently, there were few varieties of white wine in Spain, and its quality was not comparable to what we drink today.
At that time, only a few varieties of the famous Rioja and Albariño varieties could be found, but even they were not very popular,” the expert explained. This is where the tradition of combining jamon with red wine originated, due simply to the misconceptions that white does not correspond to its level. The situation has changed, but the habit that has developed over the years has proven difficult to eradicate.
According to Marco, jamon Iberico and Serrano are best complemented by a soft white wine that does not interrupt its taste and at the same time has some acidity, which removes the oily taste in the mouth. Besides, the high tannin content softens the ham’s astringency, enhanced by the salt it contains. As for sparkling wines, bubbles have proven to be advantageous: they also help eliminate the oily taste in the mouth.
The choice of drink for Iberico and Serrano ham depends on the type of ham: a product with an intense and rich taste is best set off with sparkling wine, and for softer varieties of ham, white wine is also suitable.
Beer and Iberico/Serrano Ham
In general, beer goes very well with pork products: “tandem” pork sausage and beer are generally classics. When consumed with ham, the bitter taste of beer perfectly emphasizes the rich taste of Iberico and Serrano ham. The lower the density of the beer, the better it is absorbed by the taste buds.
Champagne and Iberico/Serrano Ham
The combination of jamon with champagne is a whole new world that you still have to discover! There are many names and varieties of champagne that correspond to the origin and varieties of grapes from which it was obtained; the most widespread kinds of champagne that go with Iberico and Serrano ham are Chardonnay, Meniere and Pinot Noir.
Jamon Drink Pairing Sommeliers’ Advice
Excellent yields of first-class wines harvested in Spain made the wine an excellent addition to Iberico and Serrano pork. Traditionally recommending Reserva and Crianza red wines with pork, experts say that these wines should not be too strong to fully enjoy the sensation of the combination of the two flavors. Young and light wines are considered the most suitable.
Recently, the use of pork products with white wine has become more and more common. This trend, which differs from traditional combinations, is primarily manifested in ham with dry white wines, the sour taste of which enhances the overall taste sensation. Many also argue that Fino and Manzanilla wines are the ideal drink for acorn ham. Conversely, sweet and fruity wines are not considered a good option.
Iberian acorn jamon is characterized by a wide range of flavors, and the jamon tastes differently depending on the year of its production. This is due to the amount of rain, the sun, the quality of the acorns and, finally, directly with the pasture itself.
Even though Iberico and Serrano jamon is an absolutely natural product, each jamon is unique. You can enjoy its unsurpassed taste with different drinks, try classic combinations, let the sommelier surprise you, or follow your intuition.