Best Wine And Chicken Pairings, Part I

It can be really worthwhile to spend some extra time, and perhaps a little extra money to match your wine and food. At the risk of repeating myself, while chicken is a “white” meat many suggested pairings are with red wines. Depending on the dish, sometimes the proposed reds are powerful ones. But if you feel like a white wine, there still are plenty of suggested chicken dishes. And guess what, you don’t have to follow these “rules.” As always, you may take into consideration the spicing, the accompaniments, and sauce, if any. Enjoy!

First comes Barbecued Chicken. Some people start the chicken in the oven or microwave before placing it on the barbeque. This reduces the chance of food poisoning from undercooked chicken and also the chance of burning the meat. Many would say that it also reduces the taste. The classic wine pairings for Barbecued Chicken include Beaujolais, Chenin Blanc, and Riesling. Other good choices include a red or white Zinfandel or a French Cotes du Rhone. I’ll let you in on a secret, I personally hate white Zinfandel.

Chicken Cacciatore is Italian “hunter-style” made with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Some people make it only with the dark meat. This is one dish you can make in a crock pot or a slow cooker. Serve it over rice or pasta, or with a crusty Italian or French bread. Live a little, cook it with some of the wine you are serving. Classic wine pairings for Chicken Cacciatore include Chianti, Nebbiolo (a top of the line Italian red grape), and Zinfandel. You might also want to go with a French Rhone red wine.

Chicken Curry is a specialty in East Asia, South Asia, and parts of the Caribbean. Many areas even distinguish between Chicken Curry and Curry Chicken. It really depends which you add to which. Frankly, I like them both. The classic wine pairings for Chicken Curry are Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. The first two are often from Germany or Alsace, the latter is found in literally doznes of countries. In fact, I have even tasted an Indian Sauvignon Blanc, which in theory at least should well accompany an Indian curry. You might also go with a Beaujolais or a Zinfandel.

When in doubt about which wine to accompany a tasty dish, you usually won’t go wrong by selecting a fine Italian wine. But I would not do so for a Chicken Curry.

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