Pair wine with chicken according to how the bird is...

Pair wine with chicken according to how the bird is cooked. Credit: iStockphoto/ClaudioVentrella

Yes, it tastes like chicken.

But the wines that complement the bird will vary depending on how you prepare it.

What goes with chicken Parmigiana doesn’t exactly pair well with fiery chicken curry. White meat and dark meat similarly have their own affinities.

Two wines are especially versatile and cover many chicken preparations: Beaujolais and dolcetto. The reds are generally light and fruity. Such a merlot can cover a lot of territory, too.

If you’re serving roast chicken, try a fuller red, such as a medium-bodied pinot noir from Burgundy, and either Barbera d’Alba or Barbera d’Asti, which also work with that Parmigiana, as does Chianti Classico. Or, if inclined to white, pour an oaky chardonnay.

Grilled chicken finds a match with red and whites. For a red, sample a richer Beaujolais, perhaps Juliénas or Moulin-à-Vent, or a lighter California zinfandel. For a white, fuller chardonnays are a dependable choice, as they are when cream sauce is in the recipe.

Smoky chicken barbecue calls for a gutsier red. California zinfandel, malbec from Argentina, Australian shiraz and cabernet franc are contenders. But German riesling contrasts neatly.

Fried chicken finds a friendly partner with sparkling wine, whether it’s Lambrusco or Champagne. Likewise, with an off-dry riesling, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, a dry rosé and beer. If your chicken is made with a spicy Thai, Indian or Chinese accent, riesling, chenin blanc and gewürztraminer are satisfying whites. Lager beers, particularly pilsner, are ideal.

And with the leftovers destined for chilled chicken salad: crisp sauvignon blanc .  .  . or Coca-Cola.

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