Chicken wings usually go hand-in-hand with beer, but what if you are in the mood for a glass of wine? Today’s chicken wing wine pairing will help you out when you want to go beyond wings and beer.
Today’s pairing might be considered the ultimate challenge for wine, but I’m doing it anyway! Why is it such a challenge?
Because wings generally do NOT pair well with wine.
In chicken wings, its all about the sauce; and wing sauce is usually spicy or sweet. Spicy and sweet are flavors that are incredibly difficult to match up to wine. Spicy foods enhance the perception of alcohol and tannin in red wine, so forget drinking any reds with wing sauce that has any sort of kick to it (which is most of them). And generally you need a wine that is just as sweet, if not more sweet, than the food you’re pairing it with. Since 90% of wines are dry out there, they won’t go well with your sweet wing sauce.
What to Pair with Chicken Wings
So…we can’t do any red wines or dry wines, so what are we left with? Sweet, white wine. (And you thought wings were manly.)
Men, put your egos away for 2 seconds and realize that sweet wine and hot, spicy chicken wings pair perfectly together. Sweetness in wine actually cools down the effects of spicy foods, so the two go hand-in-hand. My number one wine to pair with wings is off-dry Riesling. Off-dry means that it has a touch of sweetness but won’t be too sweet or overwhelming like a dessert-sweet Riesling will be.
Look for a German Riesling that says “Kabinett” on the bottle. Do not buy anything that says “Trocken”, as that is German for “dry” (which will taste terrible with our wings, as we pointed out earlier). If you are buying a domestic Riesling, take a look at the label and see if the level of sweetness is stated. Ideally you want something with a little sugar but not too crazy. Stay away from any bottle that says “Icewine” (it’ll be way too sweet).
Dani’s Recommendations for Commonly-Available Riesling:
- Dr. Loosen “Estate Kabinett” Riesling (Mosel, Germnay)
- Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling (Mosel, Germany)
- Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling (Washington)
- Anew Riesling (Washington)
Other Libations that Work
There’s a few other sweet wines out there that can be great with chicken wings. Just make sure the wine is actually sweet as some producers make “dry” styles. And dry wine with sweet and spicy chicken wings equals disaster! Try:
- Sparkling wine made in the “Extra Dry” or “Demi-Sec” style. Learn More.
And then, of course, there’s beer…who’s bubbles will scrub away all the spice lingering in your mouth from those chicken wings. Beer really is a no-brainer with wings, so stay tuned for my next post which will highlight the best ones to pair it with.
Have fun feeling extra-fancy with your wine and chicken wings! To make your own wings at home, I really like this recipe from Living Lou.
Thirsty for More? Try these Pairings: