When pairing red wine with chicken, light and fruity reds, such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, or Barbera pair best. The fruity flavours keep your mouth refreshed (especially if the chicken is dry), while the earthy notes of these wines add a touch of complexity to a rather simple meat. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling are three fantastic white wines that will elevate your chicken, as well as complement the flavours depending on how your chicken is prepared.
Pinot Noir & Roast Chicken Pairing
For simple preparations of chicken, the best red wine to pair with chicken is Pinot Noir. Now hold on a second, you might say. You can pair red wine with chicken, which is a white meat? Absolutely! Pinot Noir is not a heavy red wine. It’s high in acidity, light in tannin and has a pleasant and highly aromatic nose. As it is a delicate red wine, you don’t want to pair this with spicy chicken. Rich and bold preparations of chicken, such as heavy cream sauces might overpower this wine too.
But if you are having a roasted chicken, the earthy flavours often found in a Pinot Noir will go fantastic with this dish. Pinot Noir tends to be slightly sweet, especially ones from California and New Zealand. This sweetness goes perfect with sweetness you often get from the cooked outer skin of chicken.
Barbera and Herbed Chicken
In the mood for Italian reds? Barbera and Dolcetto are two great reds that pair well with roasted chicken. These fruity reds are acidic and have cherry/cranberry and blackberry flavours and are both light and low in alcohol. This makes these two wines perfect for a light lunch.
Both Barbera and Dolcetto have a rustic/herbal quality that not everyone appreciates, but should you be serving herbed chicken, the flavours will complement one another.
Beaujolais and Chicken Salad Sandwich
With Beaujolais we have another light and fruity red wine. Beaujolais lacks the earthiness of Pinot Noir, as well as the rustic charm of Barbera. Similar to Barbera, however, Beaujolais is low in alcohol, which makes it the perfect red wine for lunchtime meals, such as a cold chicken salad sandwich, or perhaps a chicken caesar.
Chardonnay & Grilled Chicken Pairing
The best White Wine to pair with chicken, either grilled or roasted is Chardonnay. Chardonnay is often oaked, which makes it the perfect white wine with Grilled Chicken as the bitterness of the charred flavours from the grilling process go great with the oak found in Chardonnay.
Chardonnay, in general, has a lot of tropical fruit, vanilla on the nose and a lush feeling on the tongue. If you happen to overcook your chicken making it too dry (as I often do), a nice cold glass of Chardonnay will disguise this fact as the combination will come off as juicy.
Sauvignon Blanc with Herbed Chicken
Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine with lots of grassy herbal notes, as well as a crisp acidic, and citrusy bite. The herbal notes of Sauvignon Blanc will sing in perfect harmony with any herbs you toss on your chicken. Meanwhile, the citrus flavours will elevate those neutral chicken flavours and bring them forward so you taste them in all their glory.
Riesling with Spicy Chicken Wings
An Off-Dry Riesling is ever so slightly sweet, and this is the perfect foil against the sweat inducing heat of hot chicken wings. The sweetness of the wine helps put out the flames, so you can taste those true peppery flavours which have always been masked before by pain. For chicken wings, especially spicy hot ones, you want a wine that is low in alcohol, or else your mouth is going to feel even more on fire and you won’t taste anything.
Similar to Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling will go well with a wide variety of chicken preparations, such as Tandoori Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Chicken Sausage, Butter Chicken, Chicken Alfredo, and Chicken Curry dishes.
You’ll also find sparkling wine or Prosecco goes well with chicken wings as they are high in carbonation, and cut right through the greasiness of the chicken wing.
If you are a red wine drinker only, we’d highly suggest a Baco Noir with chicken wings. Baco Noir tends to be a mid-bodied wine that is very fruity. It goes great will foods higher in fat content, as it is a wine that is low in tannin. Thus the less fat that is cooked out of the food, the more the fruitiness of this wine is going to shine through.
Beer and Chicken Pairing
Beer and chicken wings are a classic combination that everybody is familiar with. The majority of the population drinks it with some variation of a pilsner lager whether it’s Budweiser, Canadian, or Sleeman Original Draught.
We think the best beer to pair with chicken wings is an India Pale Ale. India Pale Ales are high in carbonation which cuts through the greasiness and spiciness of a chicken wing. We also think India Pale Ales are the best beer to pair with chicken wings as they are a little more hoppy then most beers. Hops cause those bitter flavours you often find in beer, hops are also herbal, or sometimes have a spiciness to them that allow them to complement the spice found in a chicken wing.