Best Wines to Pair With Chicken

Top 5 Wines to Pair with Chicken

  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Sparkling White Wine or Champagne
  • Aromatic whites like Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Nor

Most Popular Chicken Dishes & Pairings

Chicken is a versatile protein that lends itself to a variety of cooking techniques. Generally chicken is bland on it’s own so when we are looking to pair a wine with a chicken dish, we must compliment the cooking method and match the intensity of the sauce or seasoning.

Roast chicken:

We want to compliment the juicy chicken and golden crisp chicken skin with seasonings such as rosemary, garlic & onion powder, salt & pepper, olive oil, thyme, butter with a wine that will allow the dish to shine but also showcase the wine. My first recommendation with roast chicken is Chardonnay as there is a buttery texture and flavour in the wine that really highlights the juiciness and roasted flavours of the chicken. Most Chardonnays have had some oak influence and the extra texture and toasty flavours work very well with the cooking method of the roast. Pinot Noir is also a good match because of the savoury notes in the wine and the savoury herbs used to season the roast and also the acidity in the Pinot Noir will cut the fat in the pan juices. Rose wines have a little more tannins than white wines but in this cooking method and the fact there is dark meat too, will allow both the dish and the wine to shine. 

Baked chicken breast with savoury herbs: 

Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice here because the weight and intensity of the dish is well matched to that of the wine. If there is any lemon citrus it will compliment the wine’s citrus notes. This wine pairing will bring out the best in both, allowing each to shine. Chicken dishes cooked in a savoury sauce such as anchovy, olives, saffron, garlic, capers and pimentos will work very well with medium bodied rose wines. 

Creamy chicken:

Chardonnay is hands down the best wine to pair with Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. The sauce is creamy, rich, and buttery and Chardonnay has a velvety mouthfeel with a buttery flavour. 

Fried Chicken: 

In this case the dish is salty, juicy, and crispy and calls for a wine that offers a balancing acidity. I can’t think of anything better than champagne or sparkling wine. The bubbles have the light effervescence that can cut through the richness of the fried coating. I would choose a sparkling wine that is made in blanc de blanc style or blanc de noir. Sparkling wines have naturally more acidity as the grapes are picked early for their higher acidity. The bubby will bring a welcome reprieve to the fatty, salty, crispy fried coating without overpowering the chicken. 

Spicy chicken: 

It’s important to remember that heat likes sweet. Aromatic white wines such as medium dry Riesling, off dry Gewurztraminer or fruity off dry Pinot Gris will compliment a dish with spice such as Thai green curry. Chicken piccata will be well matched with an aromatic white wine as well. 

Chicken in tomato sauce:

This is where red wine can be the best compliment to a chicken dish. It’s the intensity and the weight of the sauce that you want the wine to match. If earthy mushrooms and or tomato sauce or even if red wine is used in the preparation of the chicken dish such as coq au vin, then red wine is the right choice. 

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, or a heavier Pinot Noir will all work. 

Bottom line is have fun, it’s good to do some experimenting on your own. Enjoy!

Katherine McEachnie, dipWSET

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