Chick Wine

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.

Post a Comment


  1. Paula 1

    I tend to default to the same wine over and over, but I like it so I’ll probably keep doing it. Even so, I really like how you broke out what types of wine compliment which type of dish. Oh … and I had Iced Tea with my dinner! :-)

  2. Can’t wait to feel better so I can have my glass of wine.

    I am really into Carolina wines right now…big fan of Scuppernong wine.

  3. Hilary 3

    Hi Cathy .. thanks for the suggestions re the wines .. and it’s great coming from someone who knows what they’re talking about ..

    I too was driving – so had elderflower, then coffee, then tea .. – a glass of wine tonight I think …

    Thanks Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

  4. Diane 4

    Thank god my husband is in charge of the wine selection. I would never get it right!. But then he IS French and from what I’ve seen they all seem to just have this natural sense about what wine goes with what. I guess when your raised in the middle of a vineyard it kinda goes with the territory ^_^

  5. I am totally in love with Pinot Noirs and my palate says they go with most anything. However, chicken and fish are good with the Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers , especially in the summer when refreshing is the word of the day for me. I think I could live on Brussels sprouts, chicken in almost any dish along with the Pinots……all the rest of the days of my life.Thank-you for the recommendations , they mean a lot from you!

  6. I am so not the wine conniesiuer..sp? I am printing out your info here, I do love wine, but now I’ll have an idea what matches well. Thanks, Cathy! GREAT post!

  7. I printed this out and stuck it on the fridge! This is what I needed. Something to go by.

  8. Barbie with a T 8

    Thanks for the wine info. Again, you are the teacher, and I am the student. I listen, learn, and experiment. I have made many mistakes, but I chalk it up to exerience. I really do need your advice, and appreciate any that you can give. Thanks again.

  9. I had the Cline Syrah with my simmered all day carnitas last night – – I know, pork isn’t chicken but it IS the other white meat! It was great . . . I love Cline but just wish it was a little more consistent.

  10. Julia 10

    Good recommendations! Unfortunately, last night I was drinking kosher wine, so the pairings were limited. But, of course, I managed. :)

  11. Thanks again, Cathy, for a wine lesson that makes sense and is easy to understand. I refer to your wine posts on a regular basis.

  12. I am not the kind of wine person to want to know if my wine goes with what I am eating. I just like to drink what I like. To heck with all the other stuff!
    “I like to cook with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food”
    link to

  13. Egghead 13

    Well if you taste test all of these for long enough at dinner pretty soon you won’t care what wine to drink with chicken. All that will be left is a bunch of empty bottles. heh! Funny I never thought much about what wine to drink with chicken. We usually choose a good Merlot but these are some great suggestions to try. Thanks Cathy.

  14. dawn 14

    First, I love the black and white pictures of the wine, so cool.

    Second I love your wine advice. I check here often when I need to remember something, you have truly demystified wine for me in a very friendly wine. I cannot stand it when people are so stuffy about wine. I can’t wait to taste your wine someday…we are all waiting to place our orders for the famous Noble Pig Wine. I know I am not alone.

    Last night I had Pinot Noir from the Russian River.

  15. Cheryl 15

    Always one to defy the norms (or be a Glamour don’t, the category is yours to declare), I had whatever red house wine PF Chang’s was serving to companion my spicy chicken with brown rice. ‘Twas delish. ;)

    (As was the Moscato with dessert….)

  16. magpie 16

    Last night we had fondue (cheese, and meat) – with a lovely mock sancerre – “Petit Bourgeois”. It’s my favorite inexpensive white.

  17. I always go with Riesling because it is what I enjoy the most!

  18. megan 18

    I haven’t been on top of the health issue lately and now I’m on antibiotics so needless to say, I haven’t had any wine in quite a while. But I’m sure craving a steak and nice Zinfandel. Thats what is on the menu for next weekend. Have you had any good Zins lately that shout “Buy Me!”

  19. Claire 19

    I agree with you! It’s all about the sauce &/or seasoning when pairing chicken & wine. Even then, it’s still about what YOU like. I know people that will drink Cab with absolutely everything…to each their own.

    Once the weather turns a bit warmer, we become borderline-obsessed with rose’, & we love it with most chicken dishes.

  20. imom 20

    I didn’t have any chicken or wine last night. I had turkey and black bean chili with a beer!

    I’m so happy for this list of recommendations. I’ll be adding it to my recipe book.

  21. We had dinner at some friend’s house last night. They served a smothered pork chop, and we brought the Pink Truck so my hubby would have something he knew he liked. After dinner they served a round of Goldschlagger-I should have known not to drink it after wine. Ugh. I love Gerwertz with chicken-I do serve that usually with a roast chicken. I also like a Pinot Noir if I have grilled it.

  22. What about eggs? Like brunch wine?

  23. Cassie 23

    I had a few Bloody Mary’s last night and they were fantastic! LOL

  24. I had a Pinot Noir last night. I have no idea what kind…we went out to dinner, I got Chicken Parm so I ordered Pinot Noir to drink with it. It was very good. Shows you how much I know about wine, huh?

  25. elra 25

    Whoa, I am so proud…
    whenever I serve chicken, most of the time I will choose Alsatian riesling. It’s my favorite white wine. Thanks again for the very useful info.

  26. Great wine recommandation. I’m always asking myself what to serve with a dish.

  27. Brian 27

    I made pesto chicken the other night and it paired perfectly with a Columbia Crest Cabernet,,,,delicious.

  28. Bob 28

    Thanks for the tips, I’m always looking to improve my wine pairing.

  29. Raina 29

    Hi Cathy,

    We actually had grilled chicken last night with a sort of alfredo pasto topped with crabmeat and parmesean, it was totally to die for…Thank you honey!! Anyways, after dinner instead of desert we had a wonderful glass of Moscato which just seemed to pull everything together, it was wonderful. I have to say I usually have white wine with chicken only because it is lighter to me but like you said it just depends on what you like.

  30. Elyse 30

    Thanks for these wonderful suggestions!! This kind of stuff is so good to know. My level of wine knowledge is so simplistic: I know that I like it! So, it’s wonderful to get some wine knowledge from your blog. Love it!

  31. Darcy from D.C. 31

    Last night, as per your previous suggestions I sought out Oregon Pinot Noir. It was fantastic and so perfectly structured. I cannot wait for the release of your own Oregon Pinot Noir. It’s so exciting to think we have all been there through the inception…virtually of course! Thanks always for the great wine advice.

  32. There’s so much to learn! Thanks for the tips!

    I had a frozen strawberry daquiri last night!

  33. I love this kind of info, Cathy. Thank you!


  34. Oh, I thought you were going to write about Kung Fu Girl–my current favorite. This was good too. :)

  35. Typically a Riesling is my favorite with chicken, but your info/chart is great. I had water last night as well. Excitement all around.

  36. Daniel - Alabama 36

    What I like about you is that you are a real person when it comes to wine. One with a good educational background but isn’t a snob about it. I love coming here learning about your life, tid bits about wine, incredible food and your ability to capture it beautifully on film. Good luck in your own ventures, the world is waiting.

  37. Maureen 37

    Love your wine recommendations! I am still on the drink what I like, regardless what I’m eating stage, but occasionally do find myself with a good “pairing.” Last night we had scallops and a great sauvignon blanc.

  38. tipper 38

    Neat info about the wine! I only had sweet tea last night-not very exciting either :)

  39. Okay, I don’t drink so naturally my eyes just skimmed over this post- but in doing so I was sure that the opening sentence read: “I am repeatedly asked what wine to serve to children” hahaha. I was like, wait a sec, what kind of blog IS this?? lol

  40. april 40

    I generally drink Cabs with just about anything except sushi, but one day I’ll branch out into whites. When I was in California I was surprised at how much I liked them but I just don’t think to open a bottle of white unless I’m cooking with it. I might bookmark this page and refer back when I decide to do that :)

    I’m thinking of having wine (I have a bottle of Chilean red in the wine fridge) with a block of cheddar and a little Gorgonzola cheese and crackers for dinner tonight and forgo the regular food. We did the same thing last night — just had queso and chips for dinner. One day I’m going to cook the pork tenderloin in my fridge that I thawed last night :)

  41. I thought maybe you were going to talk about chick wines to go with chick flicks like a girls night out with some chick food and a chick time had by all; forget chicken lets eat steak!

  42. Louise 42

    About 2 years ago, I found a nice little wine that I liked, so drank often with weekend snack dinners. Figured it would always be around, so eventually took a break. And then …. couldn’t find that wine again! Now I’m into a Concannon chardonnay and am just tucking this vintage away, knowing that not only will next year not be the same, it may not even be so readily available. I so agree with you, the right wine is simply something you like.

  43. I can’t admit to how many wines I had yesterday. :-) It was Barrel Tasting Weekend in Sonoma County and my friends and I managed to visit 7 wineries between 11 & 4, tasting (and pouring out) as we went. It was very, very fun! My favorite wines of the day were the Robert Young Chardonnay and Robert Young Scion Cabernet Sauvignon. Expensive but awesome. Also the Dry Creek Fume Blanc is an annual favorite. We bought 3 cases of that to divide amongst ourselves. It’s very affordable too, and widely distributed. Would be good with chicken.

  44. Sandie 44

    Love when you do your wine pairings. I actually had chicken tonight—Chinese take out, and I drank green tea with it. I know—wild (but good) :)

  45. Liz C. 45

    In the last 5 or 6 years we have totally re-thought wine pairings. Thanks to you, we are honing that skill. Thanks Cathy!

  46. Lori 46

    I really enjoyed this post, great ideas!

  47. Laura 47

    Wine and beer have been giving me headaches I have discovered.
    But….Grand Marnier does NOT.
    And yum it’s good.

  48. Mike 48

    All very good pointers. I haven’t had any exciting wines myself, but am still thankful you pointed me to viognier in the past!


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