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Ham Wine Pairing: Cava and Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Table of Contents:


  • CAVA


Cava and Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with different Hams

Why Cava pairs with Ham?

Cava, with its crisp and refreshing profile, complements the salty and rich flavors of ham. The effervescence of Cava helps cleanse the palate, making each bite of ham as enjoyable as the first. Its balanced acidity and subtle fruitiness provide a delightful contrast to the savory nature of ham, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Cava wine characteristics from Wine Folly

Cava Description

Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain known for its bright acidity and lively bubbles. It is made using the traditional method, similar to Champagne, and offers a range of styles from dry (Brut) to sweet.


Cava typically exhibits a pale golden color, with fine bubbles creating an elegant appearance in the glass.


The flavor profile of Cava can include notes of green apple, citrus, and almond, with some aged versions showing toastier, brioche-like characteristics. This spectrum of flavors makes it a versatile partner for a variety of dishes, especially ham.

Serving Temperature

Cava is best enjoyed well chilled, typically between 6 and 8°C (43 and 46°F).


Why Willamette Valley Pinot Noir pairs with Ham?

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, known for its elegance and subtlety, is an excellent match for ham. The wine's light to medium body doesn't overpower the meat, while its bright acidity and red fruit flavors, such as cherry and raspberry, complement the natural sweetness of ham. The earthy undertones of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir can also highlight the smoky notes in the ham.

Pinot Noir Grapes

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Description

This Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley is celebrated for its balance and complexity. The cooler climate of the region contributes to the wine's bright acidity and nuanced flavor profile.


The color of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir typically ranges from a light to medium ruby, reflecting its delicate extraction.


Expect flavors of red fruits like cherry, raspberry, and sometimes hints of spice and earth. These characteristics make it a harmonious match for ham, providing a pleasant contrast to the meat's richness.

Serving Temperature

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is best served slightly chilled, at around 14 to 16°C (57 to 61°F).


Different types of Ham

1. Prosciutto

Prosciutto, an Italian dry-cured ham, is known for its delicate, sweet flavor and silky texture. It's typically served thinly sliced and can be enjoyed on its own, wrapped around fruits like melon, or used as a flavorful addition to salads and sandwiches. Prosciutto's rich yet subtle taste pairs wonderfully with the crispness of Cava and the fruity notes of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

2. Black Forest Ham

Originating from Germany, Black Forest Ham is a smoked and cured ham with a deep, rich flavor. It's distinguished by its dark color, firm texture, and the subtle hint of spices used in its curing process. This type of ham offers a robust flavor that stands up well to the complex notes of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, while the effervescence of Cava can cut through its smokiness, providing a refreshing balance.

3. Iberico Ham

Iberico ham, a prestigious Spanish delicacy, is renowned for its rich, nutty flavor and beautifully marbled texture. Made from the Iberico pig, this ham is cured for an extended period, resulting in a complex and deeply satisfying taste. Its rich and savory profile, with hints of sweetness, makes it an exquisite match for the elegant Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and its luxurious texture is delightfully contrasted by the bubbly and crisp nature of Cava.

 Image with Prosciutto, Black Forest Ham, and Iberico Ham.

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