Next time you have a delicious fried chicken dinner, consider pairing it with a delicious wine. Choose a wine that complements the flavors in the chicken. The proper pairing makes both elements of your meal taste better.
While Champagne may seem oddly celebratory to pair with fried chicken, in fact the flavor profiles of both complement each other perfectly. Champagne has a toasty biscuit flavor that mixes well with the fried coating on the chicken. Likewise, the fizzy bubbles and acidity inherent with Champagne cuts through the fattiness of the chicken, giving it a delicious balance.
Try these Champagnes:
- Nicholas Feuillatte NV Brut is an affordable dry Champagne with creamy flavors and lovely acidity.
- Piper Heidsieck NV Brut is a fruit-forward yet acidic Champagne that is quite affordable.
- Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin NV Brut Yellow Label is a dry and lightly acidic Champagne with vanilla scents and toasty flavors.
Whether choosing a Riesling from Germany or elsewhere in the world, this is a great wine to go with fried chicken. Riesling has a crisp acidity that works well with the fattiness of the chicken while its spicy aromas work with the herbs and spices in the chicken. Riesling comes in varying degrees of sweetness, all which work well with the chicken. Select a dry or off-dry Riesling, such as a German Riesling Kabinett or Spätlese.
Try these Rieslings:
- Columbia Winery Cellarmaster's Riesling is a dry Riesling from Washington State. It has crisp acidity, tropical flavors, and a lovely minerality. Plus, it's under $10 a bottle.
- Joh. Jos. Prum Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett is an off-dry white from Germany. Zippy acidity balances the sweetness, along with flavors of apples.
- J. Lohr Bay Mist Estate Riesling from California has flavors of apricots and spice along with a crisp acidity.
Fried chicken has bold enough flavors that it holds up well to a red wine, particularly a lighter-bodied red wine such as Grenache. Grenache is smoky and earthy with mild fruit flavors that stand up well to the chicken's coating. It also has a light acidity and tannins that cut through the fattiness of the meat.
Grenache is called Garnacha in Spain. It is also the key player in wines from France's Rhone region. Try the following Grenache wines:
- Owen Roe Sinister Hand Grenache from the Columbia Valley of Washington State is a blend containing 70 percent Grenache, along with smaller amounts of Syrah, Cisnault, and Mouvedre. It's smoky and spicy without overpowering the chicken.
Bodegas Puig Priorat Dominicus from Spain with smoky flavors of plum and stone fruits has light tannins that balance out fattiness. The earthy quality matches the flavors of the meat while the smoke works well with the coating.
E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a smoky wine with plum and dark fruit flavors from France's Rhone region. It has nice tannins to cut through fat, along with a spicy character that holds up to the saltiness of fried chicken.
Grown and produced in the France's Loire Valley, Vouvray is made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Vouvray can be very dry, off-dry or sweet. It also has crisp acidity, which works well with fatty foods, along with the flavors of stone fruits. Whether you choose a dry or off-dry version, the wine works beautifully with spicy, fatty fried chicken.
Try the following Vouvray wines:
- Domaine Huet le Haut Lieu is crisply acidic yet lightly sweet with flavors of lemon, honey, and spices.
- Froncois Chidane le Bouchet Chenin Blanc is an off-dry Vouvray with a nice crisp acidity and the flavor of apricots and almonds balanced with minerals.
Domaine d'Orfeuilles Vouvray Silex d'Orfeuilles has flavors of vanilla and flint with a floral nose and crisp acidity.
Pairing Wine and Food
Choosing the right wine can enhance the flavors of any food - even fried chicken. The above suggestions serve as a jumping off point to help you choose tasty pairings that make both the wine and the fried chicken taste even better.