Wait Hot Wings and Wine? Not beer? Deep fried chicken wings tossed in a slightly sweet, spicy, sticky sauce. Yum! Now most would pick up a beer to go with this particular dish. But how about some wine? Unconventional, but delicious!
Generally speaking, hot wings are all about the sauce/glaze. Hot sauce based on cayenne pepper makes the dish pungent and flavorful. To deal with spice, wines with a bit of sweetness help mellow down the heat. The other option is to choose a sparkling wine where the bubbles help cleanse the mouth and get rid of the lingering spice.
Wine Characteristics To Pair With Hot Wings
|Sweetness||Off-Dry to Sweet|
|Acidity||Medium to High|
Referring to the chart above, a sweeter style of wine or an “Off Dry” wine can work very well with hot wings if you are someone who does not enjoy the spiciness and would like to decrease the sensation of heat on the palate.
Acid levels of the wine are best to be high in order to cleanse the palate and balance out the sauce which is usually vinegar based. Acidity levels in the food should be matched with the acidity levels in the wine.
Wines with low tannin would be ideal. Tannin and spice are not the best combination and can leave your mouth feeling very astringent and unpleasant. Lighter red wines with good acidity would be a better option.
Hot wings would go well with wines which are a little more citrusy and fruity, which match the flavor profile better than something a little more rustic and earthy.
Best Red Wine To Drink With Hot Wings
Red wines are most juicy, powerful and robust which would allow them to stand up to the heat and spice of the dish. Something with good acid levels and ripe fruit would work well. A few wines are mentioned below.
Red wines from Australia, especially a shiraz, tend to be super ripe and juicy. Barossa valley and Coonawara are some well-known regions making great red wines which are big and powerful and would go great with hot wings.
Italian reds are known for having higher than usual acidity levels as many are made to drink and pair with food. This makes an Italian red wine like Sangiovese from Tuscany, a great choice to go with hot wings.
Similar to Australia, Californian reds can be quite fruit forwards, with ripe blackberry and cassis, good structure and can pair nicely with hot wings. However, stay away from ones which are heavily oaked. Oak can mess up your wine pairing and is not ideal.
Best White Wine To Drink With Hot Wings
White wines with hot wings should be zesty and refreshing with aromas such as lemon, lime and green apple. We can even look into sparkling wines. A few great choices are listed below.
South African Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a grape which can produce wines which are perfectly ripe, citrusy with a bit of candied fruit if the weather is right. South Africa allows the grape to shine and do just that. A great wine to go with hot wings.
Pinot Gris from Alsace
Alsatian Pinot Gris have great acid and tension with enough fruit to stand up to the flavors of the sauce. They also sometimes have a bit of residual sugar which can be great to mellow down for those super spicy sauces.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy which is more fruit driven than mineral unlike champagne. The zesty fruity flavors along with the bubbles which clean up the palate nicely make it an excellent choice to go with hot wings.
This is one of our favorites. It can be difficult to find a good quality Gewürztraminer at local grocery stores. But if you do find one, this wine is fantastic with hot wings!
Best Wine To Drink With Hot Wings
A wine that has some great bright fruit flavors, is ripe and juicy and can match the flavor intensity of the dish is the best case scenario. We recommend the wines listed below.
- Off-Dry To Sweet Riesling
- Italian Sparkling Wine
- New World Red Wines