What Wines Go Best With Chicken?

When it comes to creating a memorable dining experience, pairing the right wine with your meal is an art. While chicken may be one of the most versatile and widely consumed meats, selecting the perfect wine to accompany it can elevate your culinary journey to new heights. The fundamental rule is to avoid overpowering the meat or the meal; a wine with beautiful fruit and good acidity could pair well with a heavier dish, but too much tannic structure runs the danger of obscuring the flavors. This article will delve into the world of wine and uncover the best varieties and styles that harmonize beautifully with different chicken dishes.

1. White Wine Delights

White wines are renowned for their ability to complement the delicate flavors of poultry, making them an excellent choice when pairing with chicken. Here are a few options to consider:

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a great choice for roasted or grilled chicken due to its rich, buttery notes and smooth finish. It’s full-bodied and complements the flavors of herb-roasted chicken, making it a perfect match for creamy sauces.

Chardonnay is renowned for its velvety-smooth flavor profile, enveloping the palate with a luscious creaminess yet retaining a delightful hint of citrus. With its luxurious mouthfeel, Chardonnay forms an unparalleled partnership with dishes featuring creamy and indulgent chicken, such as fettuccini alfredo or chicken pot pie, resulting in a truly heavenly combination.

Suggestions:

Lewis Cellars Chardonnay Reserve Napa Valley

Martinelli Chardonnay Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley

Patria Chardonnay ‘Charlie Smith’ Moon Mountain Sonoma Valley

Domaine Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles White Burgundy

Champagne

For this flavorful chicken dish with its savory, succulent, and crunchy qualities, a wine is needed that shares its uncomplicated nature while striking a harmonious blend of acidity and sweetness. Champagne’s vibrant acidity and subtle effervescence provide a refreshing contrast to the indulgent fried exterior. Opting for a champagne variety that boasts lively, tangy hints of citrus adds an extra layer of irresistible allure, transforming the chicken into a tantalizing culinary experience that’s both rich and multifaceted.

Suggestions:

Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve Champagne NV

Pierre Gobillard ‘Authentique’ Brut Champagne NV

Jean Vesselle ‘Oeil de Perdrix’ Rosé Bouzy Champagne

Petit & Bajan ‘Nymphea’ Brut Rosé Grand Cru Avize Champagne

Petit & Bajan ‘Nuit Blanche’ Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne NV

Sauvignon Blanc

Known for its vibrant acidity and refreshing character, Sauvignon Blanc brings a zesty and citrusy profile to the table. This wine is a fantastic partner for dishes like lemon chicken or herb-infused grilled chicken, as it helps to accentuate the flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc’s citrus nuances infuse a vibrant zest into chicken preparations featuring lemon, garlic, or herbal accents. Its refreshing character complements delicate herb-seasoned chicken without overpowering it, as Sauvignon Blanc maintains a lightness that allows the herbal rub to shine. Moreover, the wine’s crisp finish ensures that the chicken retains a fresh and lively taste throughout the dining experience.

Suggestions:

Groom Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills

‘Jason’ by Pahlmeyer Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

Capture ‘Tradition’ Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County

Riesling

Sweetness complements spiciness, making aromatic white wines such as medium-dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, and fruity rosés ideal companions for spicy chicken dishes. Riesling can be an excellent match if you prefer a slightly sweeter wine. Its natural sweetness balances well with mildly spicy or tangy chicken dishes, such as sweet and sour chicken or Asian-inspired stir-fries.

Suggestions:

Clairborne & Churchill Riesling Edna Valley

Georg Albrecht Schneider Riesling Rheinhessen Germany

Dry White Wine Paired Artichokes or Asparagus

Occasionally, wine can exhibit an unusual sweetness and lack complexity when enjoyed alongside dishes that include artichokes or asparagus. This occurrence is attributed to cynarin, a compound found in artichokes, which purportedly interacts with the sweet receptors on the tongue, momentarily inhibiting their function. As you take a sip of wine, the cynarin is released from the receptors, resulting in their reactivation. Consequently, your taste buds perceive sweetness, causing the wine to taste sweeter than usual. It is worth noting that only some people encounter this phenomenon, but approximately 60 percent of individuals do.

Similar to artichokes, asparagus is often regarded as a challenging ingredient to pair with wine. The abundant chlorophyll content of asparagus contributes to its distinct fresh and green flavor. However, it can impart a metallic or harsh taste to wines in conjunction with other acidic compounds. To counterbalance this effect, it is advisable to accompany artichokes and asparagus with dry white wines that exhibit high acidity and minimal residual sugar. Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, and Albariño are excellent choices in this regard.

Suggestions:

Esprit de Saint-Sulpice Bordeaux Blanc AC

Simon di Brazzan Friulano Isonzo del Friuli DOC

Belden Barns Grüner Veltliner Sonoma Mountain

Atalier by Raul Perez ‘A Cruz Das Ánimas’ Albariño Rias Baixas

2. Red Wine Enchantments

While chicken is often associated with white wines, there are red wines that beautifully complement certain chicken preparations. Here are a few suggestions to explore:

Pinot Noir

Known for its light to medium body and delicate flavors, Pinot Noir is an excellent choice for chicken dishes that are moderately rich and moderately seasoned. It pairs beautifully with roasted chicken, chicken piccata, or dishes featuring mushrooms.

Suggestions:

Furthermore Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Castalia Pinot Noir Rochioli Vyd Russian River Valley

Merlot

With its smooth tannins and medium body, Merlot is a versatile red wine that can accompany a range of chicken dishes. It pairs well with roasted or braised chicken, as well as dishes featuring tomato-based sauces or herbs like thyme and rosemary.

Suggestions:

Januik Merlot Columbia Valley

Twomey Merlot Soda Canyon Ranch Napa Valley

Grenache

This medium-bodied red wine offers a wonderful balance of fruitiness and spice, making it a great match for smoky or grilled chicken dishes. It harmonizes well with the flavors of barbecued chicken, spice-rubbed chicken, or dishes with a touch of heat.

Suggestions:

Mathis Grenache Sonoma Valley

Bernabeleva Grenache ‘Navaherreros’  San Martín de Valdeiglesias Spain

3. Rosé Revelations

Rosé wines, with their refreshing and versatile nature, are also worth exploring when it comes to chicken pairings. They strike a perfect balance between white and red wines, making them suitable for a variety of chicken dishes.

Rosé

This pale and dry rosé wine is a fantastic choice for lighter chicken dishes like salads, grilled chicken skewers, or citrus-infused chicken. Its crisp acidity and subtle fruit notes add a delightful touch to the overall dining experience.

Suggestions:

Shypoke Rosé Napa Valley

Oro Bello Rosé Petaluma Gap Sonoma Coast

White Zinfandel

Known for its slightly sweeter profile, White Zinfandel can be an excellent companion for chicken dishes that have a touch of spice or sweetness. It complements dishes like honey-glazed chicken, teriyaki chicken, or mildly spicy curries.

Suggestions:

Hawley Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino County

Martinelli ‘Giuseppe & Luisa’ Zinfandel Russian River Valley

Conclusion

Pairing wine with chicken opens up a world of exciting possibilities, allowing you to enhance the flavors and textures of your meal. While the options mentioned above serve as excellent starting points, personal preferences should always guide your choices. Experimentation and exploration are vital in finding the perfect wine to complement your favorite chicken dishes.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to find a wine that harmonizes with the flavors, sauces, and seasonings present in the chicken dish, creating a balanced and enjoyable dining experience. Whether you prefer the elegance of white wines, the versatility of red wines, or the refreshing nature of rosé, there is a wine out there waiting to enhance your next chicken culinary adventure. Cheers to discovering the perfect pairing!

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