What wine goes with roast chicken?

A: There’s a simple answer … good Chardonnay! … plus a few exotic options.


It’s perhaps the most common question our Personal Wine Advisors get asked: what’s the best wine to serve with roast chicken? The good news is … there’s a quick answer!

Simply prepared roast chicken is the ultimate comfort food and never gets tired. It fills the house with mouthwatering aromas so the family is drooling by the time it’s served – and there’s something for everyone from breast to dark meat, drumsticks and crispy skin.

But which wine pairing is best to complete the feast?

Roast chicken sits on the fence between red and white wine. A high-welfare bird will have loads of flavour so cooked simply, like Simon Hopkinson, with butter, seasoning, maybe a lemon up the pipe, you’ll find a heavier white or a lighter red will hit the spot.

Here’s the simple answer and a great place to start: good quality Chardonnay. If you’re spending under £10 the smart money would head to southern France (click to see wines) … and if you pushed me for just one pick it would be this absolute beauty from school friends turned Chardonnay superstars Collovray & Terrier.

Proper free range chickens at New Zealand's Felton Road winery

Tony goes free range, at Felton Road winery with Nigel Greening

For Dora-the-Explorers, dive into exotic Viognier (especially if you’re cooking with mushrooms or tarragon), a white wine that smells like walking into a old-fashioned French patisserie … all apricots and soft spices. Or a trendy Austrian Gruner Veltliner … Gru-V, or GV, as it’s known.

For a special occasion? Up the pecking order is white Burgundy … a dinner party classic. It has enough richness to work with dark meat and a freshness to partner the fatty juices and crispy skin. Even better if you’re roasting potatoes and seasonal veg in the same tray.

For the red-wine drinker, we’d suggest an elegant Pinot Noir (so go French rather than American) or top-rated Cru Beaujolais. The French have a word for how nice Beaujolais feels going down the throat, gouleyant … a lot like the pleasure of eating roast chicken. For value, choose a plucky Spanish Grenache or Cotes du Rhone.

Roast chicken at Bordeaux wine bar La Tupina

Chicken on a spit at La Tupina restaurant in Bordeaux, popular with winemakers

Whatever else you do, leave your big, black reds on the wine rack. There’s a time and a place but they will monster the mild flavours of poultry. You could be eating anything!

But we end as we began, because the first ‘wine with roast chicken’ answer was the best. Start with a good quality Chardonnay like these … all rated highly by our customers.

Happy Sundays!

Mark C
Head Personal Wine Advisor
Laithwaite’s Wine

This post is part of a series answering the questions most commonly asked of our team of Personal Wine Advisors. If there’s anything at all the team can help with, call 03330 148 191 or post your question in the comments below.

Mark

About Mark

Mark leads our team of personal wine advisors in Theale.

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What wine goes with Salmon? 16. February 2016

Pinot Noir would be my favorite if you enjoy drinking red wine. It’s especially good with grilled Salmon. If you prefer drinking white wine I would suggest Pinot Grigio.