Finding the perfect wine-food pairing can be a challenging task, and chicken is no exception. And although some people believe that chicken is always served with white wine, the truth is that, depending on the case, red wine is also a good alternative because it has the potential to enrich the taste of chicken meat.
White Wine or Red Wine?
The secret to deciding which wine to serve with chicken is to pay attention to the cooking method. Creamy or salty chicken dishes pair well with white wines, while dishes with prominent earthy flavors like tomato sauce or mushrooms, call for red wine.
In some cases, both alternatives work equally well. The key is to choose a wine that interacts and amplifies the taste of chicken, rather than overpowering it.
Pinot Noir is an ideal red wine to pair with chicken. This wine is light-bodied with a fruity flavor, which complements the texture and taste of chicken meat. Plus, its acidity adds a tangy flavor that balances the herbs and spices often used in chicken recipes.
Syrah is another red wine that adapts well to chicken dishes. It is a full-bodied wine that has a peppery and spicy flavor that amplifies the taste of the chicken. Syrah goes well with grilled, roasted and baked chicken because as a general rule, it plays up the flavor of well-seasoned dishes.
Merlot’s fruity flavor and subtle amount of tannins make it a good pairing for chicken with a spicy tomato-based sauce. These flavors are ideal to complement the velvety texture of the sauce-based chicken dishes..
The high tannin content of cabernet sauvignon works well with the flavors of the boldest chicken dishes, especially when they involve savory and herbaceous seasoning, creating a perfect balance. Cabernet Sauvignon offers a woodsy flavor and it goes well with dishes like chicken Parmesan, barbeque chicken, and roasted chicken.
Zinfandel delivers an assertive fruity flavor with an alcohol content that is higher than in most red wines. The robust flavor of Zinfandel makes it a good choice for the more heavily seasoned, spicier baked chicken dishes.
Wrapping It Up
Pairing chicken with red wine is easy (and enjoyable!) when you know what to look for in the wine you are going to serve according to the characteristics of the meal. The right red red wine complements the texture and flavors of chicken, enhancing the taste and elevating the dish. Each of the red wines listed above has a unique flavor and character that blends well with different types of chicken dishes, so take your time to make a well thought out choice!
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