“Crisp, crunchy, yet succulent… fried chicken pairs ‘awesomely’ with sparkling wine.” –Madeline Puckette
When it comes to pairing wine with fried chicken, your best bet is sparkling wine. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to pairing fried chicken with coke, lemonade, or sweet tea ever again.
Why? There’s a lot of oil, salt, and fat in fried chicken. (Sad, but true, and also so delicious!) With abundant acidity, effervescence, and complementary flavors, sparkling wine effortlessly cuts through all of it, cleansing and refreshing your palate with every bite – sans the bloating. Consider the following and look for Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, and Dry examples where you can. (Dry is sweeter than you think!)
- Champagne or Sparkling wine – If you’re going for broke.
- Prosecco – If you want something a little more on the sweeter, fruiter side that’s also fairly affordable.
- Sparkling Rosé – If you’re dealing with spice and heat.
- Tempranillo – Savory notes and fat-softening tannins make this wine a winner.
- Riesling – Aromatic sweetness and high acidity in Riesling cut through fat and embellish the umami notes in fried chicken.
- Lambrusco – The tannin and acid in this oft-maligned Italian red wine plays well with fats.
- Grüner Veltliner – You’ll need acid with fried chicken. You’ll get it with Grüner.
- Sparking Shiraz – What you want with anything sweet and tangy, like what you like.
Fried Chicken Wine Pairing Examples
- Southern Fried Chicken with Champagne
Seasoned chicken, rolled in flour, with just a bit of paprika, garlic, and black pepper, and fried in vegetable oil. Champagne (or Crémant) cuts through the grease like a sharp, acidic blade. High-low dining at its finest.
- Nashville Hot Chicken with Extra-Dry Prosecco
Marinated in buttermilk and cased in a paste of fiery cayenne, this is the bird that bites back. For this, we’re thinking an extra-dry Prosecco with its sweet-smelling aromatics and smooth mouthful will help quell the heat of capsicum and other tingly sensations.
- Chicken Wings with Sparkling Rosé
Sparkling Rosé. Fuller, more unctuous than leaner sparklers, the sweeter, more intense red fruit notes (think strawberries, white cherries) easily holds its own against this tart, buttery take on fried chicken.
It’s hard to find a place that serves fried chicken with fine wine. But hopefully, with this guide, we’ve helped you take this soon-to-be classic pairing into your own hands.