I am repeatedly asked what wine to serve with chicken. When I say repeatedly, I mean constantly. Recurringly. Persistently. Unceasingly. Unrelentingly. What wine should I serve with THIS here chicken?
My standard answer? Which ever wine you like the best. This is usually followed by eye rolls and heavy sighs from the persevering question asker. It also weeds out the less than serious connoisseur who really just wants to serve whatever is in the fridge door from last night’s meal.
You see, when it comes to chicken, any number of wines will do…both red and white. The challenge comes in once you begin adding other ingredients with distinctive flavors. These unique flavors are often natural partners to specific wines and wine styles.
For example, spicy dishes such as, Kung Pao or Curried Chicken need the balance of a rounded-out, fruity and aromatic wine; Gewurztraminer, an off-dry to dry Riesling or Viognier all comes to mind. The acidity and residual sugars along with the moderate alcohol content of these wines will assist in keeping the dominate flavors and spice of these dishes in balance. In other words, taming the heat while lifting a touch of the sweet will work wonders for the overall enjoyment of the meal.
When rich cream sauces are involved, turning to a smooth-textured, full bodied Chardonnay might be the perfect and the most logical answer. However, I dare you to try a slightly tart or tannic light red; I’m thinking a young Pinot Noir would give you a contrast of flavor you would enjoy. Believe it or not, pairing contrasting flavors can also help achieve balance.
Lighter chicken dishes full of vibrant citrus, fresh greens and leafy herbs are perfectly paired with Sauvignon Blanc. Dry Riesling would also be a good match as well as any other light-bodied white.
Then there is one of my favorite chicken dishes of all time, Chicken Milanese. Personally, this meal and Pinot Gris are a match made in heaven. It just doesn’t get any better. Trruuusssst me.
Here are a few dishes and some wines I think would go together swimmingly…
Chicken Stir Fry: Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris
Chicken Kiev: Riesling, Chardonnay
Roast Chicken: Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay
Chicken Cacciatore: Nebbiolo, Chianti, Zinfandel
Coq au Vin: Pinot Noir, Barolo
Fried Chicken: Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc
So try some of these out and let me know what you think.
But mostly, remember there really are no rules when it comes to enjoying wine with a meal. Just enjoy, have fun and drink responsibly.
So did anyone have anything interesting to drink last night with chicken? Or anything else?
Me? I had water. I know, very exciting.