Who doesn’t love a roast chicken every now and again? It makes for a gorgeous Sunday dinner or a brilliant mid-week boost, especially with spring deciding to delay gracing us with its presence. The beauty of this easy to prepare dish is that it’s outrageously versatile when it comes to deciding on a wine pairing. Think of it as a blank canvas to work with.
So much of wine pairing comes down to the preparation of your dish and there are quite a lot of things you can add to your roasting tray. Chicken with fresh herbs, maybe a garlic clove or two, some lemon, or veggies. Depending on how you choose to season your chicken and what you decide to cook alongside it, you can rest assured that no matter what your wine preferences are, there’s a pairing that’ll make your roast chicken sing.
The process of oven roasting food, whether it’s meat or veg, results in caramelisation through a chemical reaction known as a Maillard reaction. This is the same process that occurs when you toast a piece of bread and in the case of roast chicken, makes it that extra bit more savoury and mouthwatering. Fair enough. But what about the wines?
There are two regions to initially look to when you’re picking out wines for your roast chicken, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Reds and whites from these regions offer excellent pairing options. Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are classic roast chicken wines, especially if they have a touch of oak to them. You can also opt for New World Burgundy-style wines from cool climates, like the David Finlayson Camino Africana Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch. Though pairing an oaked Chardonnay can sometimes be a tad tricky, this style goes beautifully with roast chicken. We’re partial to Pine Ridge Dijon Clones Chardonnay, a Napa Valley beauty which will have you spellbound.
Fall into the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) camp? Chenin Blanc is a tasty option, especially if you’re serving mushrooms as a side dish. Or as we touched upon above, look to the Rhône’s lightly oaked Marsanne-Roussanne blends. Back on the red side of the spectrum, the gamey, herbal Rhône reds offer another brilliant choice. Earthy, smoky GSM blends, like Paul Jaboulet’s Ventoux Les Traverses, are gorgeous with roast chicken.
What if you’re not in the mood for red or white but still are keen on a little vino? A rosé will treat your palate well – no need to save it for warm weather and rosé is, in fact, gorgeous with roasted veg. Or if you want to class things up for your mid-week meal, sparkling wine à la Champagne (or a budget bubbly in the Champagne style) is a stellar pairing. Reach for a richer sparkling and you won’t be disappointed. We’re loving Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée at the moment.
In short, there’s no one wine for any one dish, especially one as versatile as roast chicken. But that’s a good thing as far as we’re all concerned. You can enjoy this meal as often as you like comfortable in the fact that as far as wine goes, you’ll never grow bored.
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