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Pairing Wine with Fried Chicken


Beer is a popular choice when having fried chicken. But, that’s only because most haven’t tried having a fine glass of wine with their fried chicken. Also, beer with fried chicken is bloating. The wine’s acidity helps to keep your palate refreshed.

Below are three wine recommendations, from Food & Wine, for pairing with fried chicken.

Champagne/sparkling wine.

With a whole restaurant devoted to this pairing, the match-up of Champagne and fried chicken is a modern-day classic. If you can splurge on the real deal, do so. Champagne often walks the perfect line between rich and refreshing, which is exactly what you want with fatty, crisp chicken. If you don’t want to spend so much, look for other sparkling wines from France, known as crémant, or bubbly wines from the US.

Lightly off-dry Riesling.

Lemonade is delicious with fried chicken. What’s the wine equivalent? Riesling. Well, kind of. Many German Rieslings balance acidity and sweetness, much like lemonade, but the flavors tend to gear more toward limes and apples than lemons. No matter. The pairing still works. Look for Kabinett-style Riesling from Germany and avoid any that say “trocken,” which means dry; in this case, a little sugar is a good thing.


Maybe this is cheating because Lambrusco is a sparkling wine, but since it’s so different from Champagne (It’s Italian! And usually red!), I think it deserves its own category. The acid and tannins in Lambrusco are terrific with anything fatty, like sausage and, of course, fried chicken. Seek out styles that are dry, or the tiniest bit sweet, and not overly austere. (These wines can get very savory-tasting and brooding—delicious but necessary with this pairing). Producers to look for include Fattoria Moretto and Francesco Vezzelli.