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What wine goes well with grilled chicken?

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Do you enjoy grilled chicken on a salad or even pasta, and wonder what wine actually tastes best together? Pairing grilled chicken with wine isn’t a complicated task since chicken is quite versatile and known for being a wine-friendly meat. 

However, when pairing chicken with wine, be sure to consider the marinade, sauces and ingredients used in the preparation. 

What wine goes well with grilled chicken? Grilled chicken has a smoky taste with beautiful grill marks on the surface. The charbroiled chicken pairs well with Beaujolais, big and oaky California Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz or Syrah, and Zinfandel. 

If grilled chicken is rubbed with loads of herbs including rosemary and thyme, rosé or lightly chilled Spanish Garnacha are an excellent wine selection.

However, the type of marinate and sauce can alter the wine selection even more. 

In this article, we take a comprehensive look at the wines that pair perfectly with grilled chicken. Answered below are frequently asked questions about what wine to serve with grilled chicken, and why certain elements work better with the smoke and char taste.

Do you drink red wine or white wine with grilled chicken?

Both white wine and red wines pair well with grilled chicken. However, white wines are the best when it comes to char grilled chicken because it brings out some nuance smoky flavors. 

The reason why some red wines don’t blend perfectly with grilled chicken is because it requires more acidic and robust taste to match up the flavor.

When the grilled chicken is served on top of caesar salad with creamy dressing, it goes well with a smooth dry white wine. 

Can you pair red wine with grilled chicken?

Yes, red wine can be paired with grilled chicken. However, be sure to go for full-flavored red types with relatively good acidity, low tannins, and fruity. Try shiraz, zinfandel, Grenache, Aglianico or merlot.

When pairing with grilled chicken, the bold flavorings and peppery taste from the char go well with a full bodied red wine.

What is the best wine to pair with grilled chicken?

The type of wine selected mainly depends on the marinade and sauces used. As a result, sweet and spicy will pair differently than herbed or tomato based barbecue sauces.

Here are some approaches that can be used when selecting the type of wine to pair with grilled chicken.

  • Herbed: If the chicken is rubbed with herbs such as thyme and rosemary, try a new oak wines like Chardonnay or noble grape like Pinot Noir. Remember, the chars and smokey flavors are infused in the meat while grilling, and therefore a more potent drink is required.
  • Barbecue sauce: When the chicken is infused with some sticky barbecue sauce, go for low-tannin reds, which are fruity, such as zinfandel. For white wines, go for a California rosé, which is almost sweet but a perfect fit for this style of chicken.
  • Spicy: For a spicy marinated grilled chicken, consider serving with dry Riesling. The marinade’s heat will strike a balance with the wine. The best part is that Riesling is low in alcohol and is easy to drink at any time of day.
  • Sweet: If the sauce is sweet like mustard, have the grilled chicken with either Oregon or German Riesling. If it’s tangier, try some French chardonnay or lightly chilled Beaujolais.

Best wine pairings for grilled chicken

Grilled chicken has a high level of acidity due to the char and potentially from the sauces and marinades being used. That being said, not every wine forms a perfect duo with grilled chicken. 

Here are some wines that create a perfect pairing with grilled chicken:

  • Pinot noir
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Chardonnay, especially big, oaky California
  • Zinfandel
  • Pinot gris / Pinot grigio
  • Riesling, especially off-dry
  • Beaujolais
  • Côtes du Rhône
Best wine for grilled chicken

Wine With Grilled Chicken: Conclusion

The rule has always been to pair red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat, but who said we can’t bend the law a bit. Remember, grilled chicken has some smoky flavor, therefore it pairs best with acidic wine to match its taste. 

In some recipes, red wine can go well with grilled chicken. Consider if the dish has creamy sauce or an acidic and rich tomato or barbecue sauce, then red wine can complement perfectly.

That’s why some mild white wines won’t blend perfectly, while some reds will. Always serve grilled chicken with the wine used in its preparation, if there was any in the marinade or sauce. 

In classic wine pairings, grilled chicken tastes good with Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, and Zinfandel. Depending on how the charbroiled chicken is coated with addition ingredients such as herbs or condiments, the wine selection can vary.

The goal here is to balance the flavors in the grilled chicken with the flavors of the wine. When selecting the wine to pair with your grilled chicken, always have the balance of flavor in mind.

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