The Best Wine to Pair with Chicken

Satisfy your thirst to know the best pour for the poultry on your plate. Read on for some background — and some suggestions, too.

What Wine to Pair with Chicken?

One reason for chicken’s popularity is that it tastes good with so many different foods. Another is that it’s flexible with wine. Unlike steak, which seems to demand a robust red, or fish, which wants a crisp white, choosing a wine to pair with chicken is a lot less fussy. Maybe that’s because the bird itself is a bit of a hybrid, part lean white meat, part rich dark meat. A simple roasted chicken, for example, pairs equally well with a full-flavored red, a fruity rose, or a dry white. How, then, do you choose the best wine to pair with chicken? One piece of advice: Look beyond the chicken itself — we’ll explain.

Wine to pair with chicken guide

Classic Wine and Chicken Pairings

Consider the ingredients that are accompanying the chicken. If one of the sides is a spring vegetable, such as peas, try a white with a similar “green” taste (Sancerre) or a prune-like red (Chianti). Chicken served with earthy fare, such as mushrooms, would partner well with a woodsy Merlot or California Chardonnay. You can also pair regional cuisines with regional wines — if you’re cooking Mediterranean, look for a bottle from Greece or Spain. For Italian: Offset creamy sauces with a lean-tasting Pinot Grigio, and acidic tomato sauces with Sangiovese.

Big and the Bold Selections

If the flavors of your chicken recipe are pronounced, let them be your guide. A fiery dish? Choose a wine that’s refreshing but not overpowering. For whites, that includes mildly fruity Gewurztraminer and citrusy Riesling. If you prefer red, try a jammy Pinot Noir or a slightly chilled Beaujolais; they’re sweet enough to offset the spice (and would also be good picks for the backyard grill, since their sweetness will match the caramelized flavor of the food). California Zinfandel and some Sauvignon Blancs (especially from New Zealand) are also intense enough for smoky barbecue sauces and rubs; they stand up to warm spices such as cumin and paprika, as well.

Picks for Our Top 5 Chicken Recipes and Wines to Pair:

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Asparagus: Sancerre, Bordeaux Blanc

2018 Domaine Curot Sancerre $32/bottle Fresh and bright with excellent acidity, a pleasure to drink.

Greek Chicken Cutlets: Malbec

2014 Titus Napa Valley Malbec BUY $39/bottle This plush, rich wine offers notes of raspberry, pomegranate, berry, cocoa 

Chicken Tetrazzini: Pinot Grigio or Chianti 

2016 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico BUY $28/bottle Dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice and leather 

Asian Chicken Soup: Riesling

2006 Georg Albrecht Riesling BUY $38/bottle Leafy, delicately earthy and bready notes in the fine nose of candied stone fruit

Barbecued Chicken on Garlic Toast: Beaujolais, Rose

2018 Eric Kent Rose BUY $30/bottle Complex, plush and long. Aromas of black cherries and light spice;


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