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Wine pairings for your favorite chicken dishes

Wine Poultry Pairing

There are endless ways to cook chicken, to loosely quote Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue. From complex dishes like paella to the simple staples like fried chicken, there is a chicken recipe for every level chef. And no matter what dish you decide on, there’s a wine pairing to match. So in celebration of wine and America's favorite protein, we've decided to create some frickin' awesome wine pairings for poultry and put them into four basic profiles.

Spicy dishes | sweet white wines

Just like everyone else, we dig a beer & buffalo wings combo. But 1) we're here to talk about wines and 2) a chilled glass of a sweet white wine is just as great to help to cut that heat and cool your palate. A sweet white wine like moscato is perfect to pair with bold, peppery spices that you will find in Sriracha or buffalo sauce. An ice cold glass of white wine like moscato or riesling will not only chill out your tastebuds, but is typically lower in alcohol than other white wines, allowing you to cool your palate with a few glasses without regretting it the next morning. In our humble opinion, the best sweet white wines to pair with spicy chicken dishes are chenin blanc, gewürtztraminer, moscato, riesling and Sautereau.

Tomato based chicken dishes | light red wines

Regardless of where you stand on the 'gravy' vs. 'sauce' debate, there’s no denying how perfectly a glass of wine pairs with a rich tomato based dish. That's because when it comes to tomato based chicken dishes like chicken cacciatore, you're going to want a light red wine like pinot noir to help balance the natural acidity of tomato. A light, tart red wine will help tame the sharp tomato acid but also won't get lost in the rich cheese flavors in something like chicken parmigiano. If you’re looking for some light red wines to pair with, we suggest cinsault, gamay, grenache, pinot noir and primitivo.

Fried chicken dishes | medium red wines

FACT: fried chicken is a delicacy. It pairs with many other culinary wonders (fries, waffles, donuts, pizza, other tasty things, etc.). Classic fried chicken is typically served on the bone with a thick crispy layer of breading and pairs well with a smooth red like merlot. Some lighter variations of fried chicken like those with a panko crust would fair well with a balanced red wine like tempranillo, which is known for its delicate balance of fruit and earthy flavors. So next time you're looking for what to serve with your fried chicken dinner, go wild. Walk right on by the beer fridge and look in the wine cabinet for wines like cabernet franc, Cotes du Rhone, merlot, sangiovese and tempranillo.

Sweet chicken dishes | off-dry wines

The term “sweet chicken” may seem weird at first, because chicken is often served as a savory dish. But let’s not act like apricot chicken, pineapple chicken stir-fry and orange chicken aren’t among the greatest preparations of chicken out there. Why? They’re are all delicious, sweet dishes with a bit of zest. The only thing that makes them even better is an off-dry wine that brings out those sweet flavors. Intrigued? Try them out with a rosé, chenin blanc or zinfandel.