Coq Au Vin is Chicken braised with wine, lardons (thick bacon), mushrooms and herbs, garlic or pearl onions. Light to medium-bodied but earthy red wines, such as Burgundy, Pinot Noir, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a heavier Beaujolais, or a Côte du Rhône pair best. If the wine was braised with a white wine, such as an Alsace Riesling (which is a bone dry Riesling), pair it up with the same white wine if possible.
Burgundy and Coq Au Vin Pairing
Red Burgundy is the classic Coq Au Vin Pairing. Burgundy is a red wine from the Burgundy region of France that produces amazing red wines made from the Pinot Noir grape. Higher tier versions (labelled Grand Cru or Premier Cru) of these wines are highly sought after for their delicate fruit flavours and barnyard pungency. For Coq Au Vin, we would suggest you pick up a lower-tier version (from the Village tier) of Burgundy, which will be much more affordably priced. If budget is not an issue, by all means, snag a more expensive bottle of Burgundy.
Village Burgundy is a fresh and fruity red wine with complex and earthy flavours, but it won’t be as complex as a pricier Premier Cru or Grand Cru. The earthier flavours will complement the mushroom, lardon, garlic and herbal notes of Coq Au Vin. The fruitier flavours have just enough strength to provide some lovely refreshment but are not too fruity to overpower the tender chicken pieces that fall apart on your fork.
Pinot Noir & Coq Au Vin Pairing
Pinot Noir is the same grape used in making a red Burgundy, and it is famous throughout the world. British Columbia, California, New Zealand and Oregon all make fabulous versions of Pinot Noir, each with their own characteristics that make them a joy to explore.
Pinot Noir from any region will go great with Coq Au Vin as the lighter strawberry and cherry flavours will not overpower the tender Chicken flavours. Meanwhile, the smoky finish and forest floor notes will complement both the lardons and mushrooms found in the dish.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape & Coq Au Vin Pairing
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is typically a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre and hails from Southern Rhone. You’ll want to find an easy-drinking Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which won’t require any cellaring to smooth out the tannin. Expect classic flavours of herbs, licorice, berries, tar and minerals to enjoy alongside your Coq Au Vin.
Beaujolais & Coq Au Vin Pairing
Beaujolais is a light and fruity red wine from France that is made from the Gamay Noir grape. Beaujolais has crisp flavours of cranberry, raspberry and cherry that make it a delight to drink with Coq Au Vin. Inexpensive, Beaujolais won’t hurt the wallet. This red wine is also low in alcohol, so it’s perfect if you are having Coq Au Vin at lunch and need to get on with the rest of your day after.
Beaujolais Villages is a touch more complex in flavour that a regular Beaujolais, but it is also pricier. I find the extra cost is worth it when pairing with Coq Au Vin, as the extra depth you’ll find in the wine complements any herbs as well as the mushrooms in the dish.
Côte du Rhône & Coq Au Vin Pairing
Côtes-du-Rhone is a Grenache-based blend from the Rhone Valley of France. Low in tannin and alcohol, Côtes du Rhône makes a lovely pairing with Coq Au Vin as it’s light enough to not overpower the poultry flavours, but it has enough personality to complement the mushrooms and lardons in the dish.
Côtes du Rhône’s flavours are not set in stone, as 23 different grapes are allowed to be blended in. This doesn’t mean it contains all 23, but just that this could be a Grenache dominant red with one or two other types of grapes blended in to make it a certain style. For the most part, however, you’ll find Côtes du Rhône to be fruity, but also have an earthy veil. This earthiness makes it a pleasure to drink with the mushrooms and lardons.