There's nothing quite like a delicious roast chicken dinner. It's simple, yet satisfying. But of course, what would it be without wine?
In this blog post, we'll take a look at some wine-pairing options for this crowd-pleaser. Whether you're a red wine lover or a white wine lover, we've got you covered, and we'll even throw in a wild card option... orange wine!
What's the best white wine with roast chicken?
White wines are definitely the go-to when it comes to wine pairing with this dish and chicken dishes in general. The perfect pairing will depend a bit on what kind of roast chicken you're having though.
The classic roast chicken
Your classic roast chicken is generally a richer dish flavoured with garlic and herbs, with olive oil or butter rubbed on its outside, or just under the skin for crispier skin and extra richness.
The best wine to go with here is a full or medium-bodied white wine to match the richness of the chicken, which still has decent acidity to cut through the fattiness of the dish. This also works if the chicken is going to be served with a creamy sauce or mushrooms.
The perfect wine here would be an oaked Chardonnay like this one from Byrne Farm in Orange, NSW.
If you want to be a bit adventurous and try an alternative full-bodied white wine this Grenache Blanc blend from Roussillon, France would also be a great pairing.
Spicy roast chicken
This could either be a Chinese Sichuan-style roast chicken, or maybe something more Mexican-inspired. In any case, spice and heat will play a bigger role when it comes to potential wine pairings.
The basic principle when it comes to pairing spicier dishes with wine is picking something with some residual sugar, so the sweetness of the wine counteracts the spiciness of the dish.
German Riesling is an excellent wine to pair with this chicken dish, as they tend to have some sweetness but also good acidity that will contrast nicely with the rich flavours of the chicken.
Alternatively, if you're looking to minimising you're sugar, like many of our readers and customers are, aromatic white wines are great wines to go with as well, like this sugar-free Pinot Blanc made by Amélie & Charles Sparr in Alsace, France.
What's a good red wine pairing option with roast chicken?
Red wine drinkers need not feel left out when roast chicken is on the menu. Pairing wine with food is rarely a question that only has one answer, after all.
Lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and Gamay work particularly well here, as they are not big enough or tannic enough to clash with the chicken, and they have enough acidity to cut through the richness. This is especially the case if you prefer dark meat over the white meats of the bird. A good example would be this Gamay made by Jean-Claude Chanudet from Beaujolais, France.
Alternatively, even a more full-flavoured red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Côtes du Rhône could still pair well with the chicken if it was served with a red wine sauce or an earthy garnish like some roasted root vegetables. If you want to try this kind of food and wine pairing, an excellent wine to try would be this medium-bodied Grenache blend made by Le Roc des Anges in Roussillon, France.
What is orange wine, and why is it so good with roast chicken?
Orange wine is basically white wine that has had skin contact, meaning the skins of the grapes remained in contact with the juice instead of being pressed off immediately like they are with white wines.
Orange wine tends to be full-bodied with a bit of tannin (like red wine), with flavours of autumn fruits like quince as well as herbs and nuts, backed up with some citrus notes like preserved lemon. These wines are absolutely delicious with roast chicken dishes. Their herbaceous flavours match well with the herbs used in the chicken, their robust taste and solid acidity stand up to all the richness and garlic, and their tannins interact with the fats of the dish to linger in your mouth for ages.
If you've never tried orange wines, you're missing out, and opening a bottle with some roast chicken is the absolutely perfect time to give one a go.
This style of wine is made all over the world, from New Zealand to Europe to South Australia, but Northern Italy is the most famous for it. A classic example of the style would be this Trebbiano-dominant orange wine made by Leeona from Tuscany, Italy.
What's the final word on pairing wine with roast chicken?
At the end of the day, there are plenty of options when it comes to pairing wine with roast chicken. Whether it's a white or a red, or even something unexpected like an orange wine, any of these can go great with roast chicken.
For a white, Chardonnay or any other full-bodied white wine is an excellent choice. If you prefer a red wine, the perfect pairing is something lighter-bodied like Pinot Noir. And don't be afraid to give orange wines a try as well, it'll be well worth it. Trust us!
The one thing to remember though is that accurate wine pairing always comes second to actually enjoying the wine you're drinking. If you really feel like a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris, or even a sparkling wine, go for it!
Choosing the right wine to pair with a dish can be highly rewarding, and it's well worth doing, but just drinking a wine you love with a dish you love without thinking too much about it can be really great too! Cheers!