Pairing of Iberico ham is a practice that combines art and science equally, and consist of finding the most appropriate drink for this exquisite delicacy. In recent years people are increasingly interested and passionate about this type of knowledge, so the number of contests and events are increasing in Spain and around the world.
Due to this, the question has ascended as to "what is it exactly?".
The term pairing refers to the analogy between two elements and implies a certain harmonious relationship between them. In fact there is customary talk during pairing of Iberico ham speaks of harmony and not so much what the ham is being garnished with.
In Spain, the importance of wine production and the presence of wines of all kinds means that there is a natural relationship between ham and wine. In the case of Iberico ham, a product that can delight the most demanding customers paired with the right wine can result in a vastly superior taste experience.
This is what experts in pairing of Iberico ham dedicate their time in finding the right type of wine or other drink in which both product's flavor will be enhanced, merging or find its uniqueness of each one. This is done with a series of parameters based on sensory experience and not so much in the way its commonly eaten or gastronomic tradition.
Due to the increasing specialization in the art, we can classify the appropriate drinks to accompany Iberico ham, and establish a few general and precise rules.
Ideal pairing, wine and Iberico ham
In spite of the fact that it is traditionally believed Iberico ham is to be paired with sweet wines, sparkling and dry was a healthy combination.
However now it is known to be the worst pairing due to the high sugar content and it is a contradiction with the intense flavor of Iberico ham, causing the taste to lack fluency.
White wines, pink wines and those wines with fruity flavors are not recommended for pairing with Iberico ham as they can mask the flavor of Iberico ham.
Dry sparkling wines such as cava and champagne seem to be a perennial favorite pairing. Without losing its identity, body and flavor these wines work very well to enhance the flavor of Iberico ham.
However reserve red wines or young wines (aged less than 2 years) can have too strong a flavor, but in general, due to their high content of tannins, these type of wines in pairing with Iberico ham can create a very pleasant feeling, and allow you to enjoy both flavors.
Light and young wines are recommended to be paired with Iberico ham as they relate in a very fluid way and can create new flavors that cannot be found in them alone. In conclusion, practically all experts agree that fine wines and manzanilla wine are without a doubt the best. It's sharp and penetrating flavors enhance Iberico ham.
This is why it is an undisputed number one pairing on the list.