Wine Pairing Barbecue Chicken (general)

Pairing Barbecue Chicken (general) with Wine Hot

Barbecue Chicken (general)
Barbecue Chicken and Wine
Photo © star5112

The best wines to pair with barbecue chicken are red wines and rose wines. The traditional wine pairing advice is to drink white wine with chicken, but it would be difficult to find a white wine that pairs well with most barbecue chicken. This helps reveal how that traditional advice can actually lead you astray.

For the traditional sweet/savory BBQ sauce, there are a lot of good red wines and rose wines that will mesh really well. It's the nature of the BBQ sauce that should be your primary focus when choosing a wine to pair with; the meat should be secondary. Usually, given the robust nature of the BBQ sauces that people use, you'll want a robust wine that can stand up to the flavors.

You should also consider your surroundings. If you are eating outside, which is common with barbecues, you may find your wine warming up more than usual. This will make lower alcohol wines a preferable choice because when wine warms, the alcohol becomes more pronounced and this will have a negative impact on both the wine and the food. Unfortunately, the most robust reds that are good pairings with common BBQ sauces also tend to have higher alcohol content.

BBQ Chicken and Wine: On the whole, the best wine to pair with most barbecued chicken is probably a Zinfandel because of its combination of fruity and smoky flavors. An "old vines" Zinfandel can work especially well here but there also some nice wines that mix Zinfandel with other varieties, like Petite Sirah.

Smoky BBQ Chicken and Wine:If your barbecue sauce has a smokier flavor, strong reds like Malbec or Merlot will work. A well-chilled dry rose can also work well if you want a wine that is more refreshing, especially in warm weather. If the smoke flavor is strong and the sauce is very light, you can move to white wines like Chardonnay.

Sweet BBQ Chicken and Wine: If your barbecue sauce has a sweeter flavor, you're better off with lighter, off-dry wine like a white zinfandel or another rose.

Spicy BBQ Chicken and Wine: If your barbecue sauce is spicier, you'll want a sweeter wine that will stand up to the heat. A Riesling or Gewürztraminer would be a good choice to pair with spicy barbecued chicken, but some people find that Sauvignon Blanc also works.

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