What Wines to Pair with Roast Chicken

We have three wine strategies that pair perfectly with roast chicken.

Delicate Wine Pairings for Roast Chicken
Photo: Photo: Randy Mayor

A LIGHT, JUICY RED

A fruity red adds a burst of berry acidity and complements the chicken's delicate flavor.

RECOMMENDED With just enough heft to match a well-seasoned chicken, a red from France's Beaujolais region offers succulent fruit and a hint of tartness with little mouth-puckering tannin. Serve the wine slightly chilled to keep it zippy and fresh.

Shown: Maison Louis Tête, Beaujolais-Villages "Le Pot," 2010 ($10) Or: Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils, Beaujolais, 2010 ($12)

A SPICY AND EARTHY RED

A deep red boldly contrasts the milder chicken while beautifully mirroring the flavors of herbs and vegetables.

RECOMMENDED Consider a syrah from California's Central Coast, where the wine develops juicy blackberry and violet notes to accompany the varietal's peppery overtones. These savory reds provide a lip-smacking foil to the roast chicken and lend a cozy heartiness to the entire meal.

Shown: Andrew Murray, "Tous les Jours" Syrah, California, 2010 ($13) Or: Hahn, Syrah, California, 2010 ($12)

A PLUMP AND FRUITY WHITE

A weighty white, with hints of citrus and butter, is rich enough to handle a roasted bird.

RECOMMENDED Try a traditional chardonnay. Mellow fruit complements chicken's subtle flavor, while oak-barrel aging adds a touch of toast and smoke to match the bird's crisp, golden skin. Fresh citrus flavors add a little zing to enliven the roasted vegetables.

Shown: Joseph Drouhin, Laforêt Bourgogne Chardonnay, France, 2011 ($10) Or: Heron, Chardonnay, California, 2010 ($10)

OOPS!  Avoid heavy, tannic reds, such as cabernet sauvignon. Big-bodied wines like these will overpower the chicken's light, savory flavors.

View Recipe: Classic Roast Chicken

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