Pairing wine with chicken may seem like a simple task. White wine always goes with poultry, right? Well not so fast. White wines do pair more easily as chicken is a light, mild protein, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious red wine with your chicken dish. As is often the case with choosing the right wine, you’ll want to consider how the chicken is prepared, the ingredients used and what, if any, sauces are accompanying your meal.
Best Red Wine to Pair with Chicken
You will generally want to stick with the aromatic light to medium bodied reds with lighter tannin structure. But remember, the richer the dish, the richer the wine, so don’t be afraid to choose something bolder when appropriate.
- Lambrusco; a slight bubbliness with strong berry notes.
- Pinot Noir; always a popular choice; light on body, high on aromatics.
- Cabernet Franc; medium body with tart fruit flavors, similar to Pinot Noir.
- Carignan; medium body with notes of berries, tobacco leaf and cured meat.
- Sangiovese; savory, cherry flavor with notes of tomato.
Best White Wine to Pair with Chicken
White wine tends to be milder, which is why it’s often paired with poultry and seafood. You don’t want a wine that is going to overpower your meal, but rather complements the prominent flavors of your dish.
- Chardonnay; dry and buttery with moderate tannins and acidity.
- Pinot Blanc; very light, and floral with notes of citrus and peach.
- Albariño; Dry with high acidity and notes of lemon and grapefruit.
- Sauvignon Blanc; highly acidic, fruity, dry white with herb tones.
Pairing Wine with Various Chicken Dishes
Wine With Roasted Chicken
You have a few choices here, and again, you want take the herbs and spices used in the chicken into consideration. A dry Chardonnay, a medium-bodied Rosé, or full-bodied red, like a Malbec are all great options.
Wine With Fried Chicken
The salty, crispy goodness of fried chicken is going to need a highly acidic wine to balance all of that fatty richness. Champagne is an unexpected yet delightful choice. The tangy citrus will cut right through the fat of the dish so you can go back for more.
Wine With Coq au vin
This succulent French dish is typically made with Burgundy wine. People often pair this dish with a Burgundy to drink, as well, but you could select another low tannin red, like Pinot Noir.
Wine With Barbequed Chicken
For Barbeque chicken it’s best to stick with a red. Something fruit-forward and low in tannins will make an excellent match. Think Zinfandel, Merlot, or Barbera to elevate the sweetness of the barbeque sauce.
Wine With Chicken Marsala
Marsala is savory and creamy so you want a lighter wine to complement the flavors. For whites, choose a Riesling or Chardonnay. A Malbec or Cabernet Franc will fit the bill if you prefer red.
Wine With Chicken Piccata
Piccata has strong lemon and black pepper flavors. A white wine will work great here. An aromatic Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc pair nicely with this dish and elevate the seasonings in the chicken.
Wine With Chicken in Creamy & Cheesy Sauces
You can go with a light red or dry white as each will boost these dishes in their own way. Beaujolais and Pinot Noir will act as palate cleansers as they both have enough fruitiness to cut through rich sauces. Dry whites with high acidity will have the same effect. Try a Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.