Pairing Wine With Chicken Cacciatore

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Chicken Cacciatore is a rustic Italian comfort dish. Cacciatore means hunter in Italian, which gives a nod to the humble roots of this classic meal. Chicken Cacciatore is chicken that is braised with some vegetables, typically a sofrito, and then simmered in wine, tomato sauce, or some sort of vinegar-based sauce.

The takeaway here is that while the vegetables may change depending on the preparation, the sauce always remains acidic. This is the main impression of the dish that we will build our pairing recommendations around.

Wine Characteristics To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

CharacteristicDetail
SweetnessDry
AcidityMedium to Medium
TanninsMedium
BodyMedium to Full
NotesSpicy \ Earthy \ Fruity

To maximize your dining experience, you’ll want to avoid a wine that is too sweet as that can conflict with the earthy feel of this dish. Since the sauce here is acidic, you need to balance the acidity and tannin levels in the wine with the acidity of the dish. If the tannins are out of balance with your acid, the clash between the tomatoes and tannins can taste almost aluminum-like.

Since this is a hearty meal, full of flavors and body, you need a fairly robust body in your wine to match. It is worth noting, however, that a higher acid and more fruit flavors may allow you to lower the body feel of the wine.

Finally, due to the complex flavors of the herbs and vegetables, a wine with some herbal, spice, and earthy traits will draw out the individual pieces of the dish. Alternatively, a fruit-forward wine of lighter body may well allow you to focus on the dish as these flavors will not overpower the meal.

Best Red Wine To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

Chianti Classico. This medium body, acidic wine is well balanced in its tannin content. The typical fruitiness and herbal notes of this selection add a level of sophistication to the meal. It is important to pair Cacciatore with the Classico, as opposed to just a Chainti. As the Classico is, by law, 80% Sangiovese. This restriction preserves the unique flavors of the grape within the bottlings.

Barbera. The Piedmont expression of this wine is of light body, and low alcohol but has a crisp acidity and is a fruit forward wine presenting flavors of cherry, raspberry, and plum. Barbera also is known for it’s earthy and minerality flavors with herbal notes. This wine will not steal the show, but rather the Barbera from Piedmont will shine the spotlight on the dish and elevate the dining experience.

Pinot Noir. Known for its acidity, Pinot Noir is a solid choice for this dish. The lighter body is complemented by the lower alcohol and offset by the red fruit and earth-driven flavor profile. The higher acid levels will cleanse your palate between bites while the flavors of the wine enhance the flavors of the food.

Nero d’Avola. This Sicilian Red is one of the fuller-bodied selections on this list. It is in the Medium+ realm for both acid and tannins, but is known as a black fruit-driven offering. These bold flavors with the balanced tannins and acid levels make this good option if you lean towards something more full bodied.

Best White Wine To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

Gewürztraminer. This dry, full bodied white has intense floral aromas and low acidity. While this may seem an unconventional pairing, the acid in the dish can actually refresh the wine. The spiciness of the wine in contrast to the flavors in the dish can be quite complementary.

Grüner Veltliner.  With a high acid and medium body, its herbaceousness complements the herbs and vegetables in this dish well. The pepper and spice notes in the wine leave a finish that is a welcomed addition to the meal.

Vermentino. Having a Medium body and Medium+ Acidity, this powerful White has an impressive depth of flavors. The complexity of flavors and herbal notes would work well here.

Cortese di Gavi. High in acid and low in alcohol, this White from the Piedmont Region would allow the flavors of the Cacciatore to shine through. The minerality and herbal notes can mirror the flavors of the herbs in the dish.

Best Wines To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

Balancing the acidity in the dish is the key to a successful wine pairing for this dining experience. 

  • Chianti Classico
  • Barbera
  • Grüner Veltliner
  • Vermentino
  • Pinot Noir

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Pairing Wine With Chicken

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