Chicken parmesan and a glass of carefully chosen wine are the keys to a delicious Italian-style dinner.
But finding the right wine for chicken parmesan can be a little tricky since many people think that white meat should always be paired with white wine.
What are the best chicken parmesan wine pairings? Chicken parmesan pairs well with such red wines as pinot noir, barbera, sangiovese, chardonnay, montepulciano, and merlot. If you like white wine, it is best to go with a sparkling varietal.
Continue reading to learn what chicken parmesan is, why red wine pairs better with it, and what some of the best wine pairings are for chicken parmesan!
What Is Chicken Parmesan?
Chicken parmesan, also known as chicken parmigiana, is a popular Italian dish that originated in the late 20th century.
Thanks to the Italian immigrants who settled in the United States, chicken parmesan has become widely known in North America and is often called “chicken parm.”
There are many variations of chicken parmesan, but the original recipe for this Italian dish calls for the simplest ingredients.
The process of making classic Italian chicken parmesan is fairly simple.
To make chicken parmesan, you need chicken breasts, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, tomato sauce, parsley, and some Italian seasoning.
You should first pound the chicken breasts, then dip them in flour, egg wash, and bread crumbs. Fry the chicken breasts in the pan until golden. Then top them with tomato sauce, some cheese, and bake!
Chicken parmesan is typically served with pasta — it can be spaghetti, penne, linguine, and any other pasta of your choice. Chicken parmesan can also be a filling for pies and be used to make sandwiches and wraps!
Does Red Or White Wine Go With Chicken Parmesan?
Chicken parmesan is perfect for dinner. Another thing that is perfect for dinner is a glass of wine!
But what wine should you serve with chicken parmesan? Does red or white wine go with it?
Chicken parmesan is made with chicken breasts. Chicken breasts, along with chicken wings are considered white meat.
In general, it is recommended to serve white wine with white meat. But a lot depends on the sauce! The tomato sauce in chicken parmesan is the reason why this dish pairs better with red wine.
White wines tend to be crisp and acidic and don’t pair well with the acidity of the tomato sauce. The tomato sauce in chicken parmesan may overwhelm the white wine when paired with it.
How To Choose Wine For Chicken Parmesan
Due to the tomato sauce, it is best to pair red wine with chicken parmesan.
But there can be exceptions to this rule depending on your preferences and the exact recipe you are using!
Here are three tips to help you choose wine for chicken parmesan:
- Choose a wine with fruity notes. The breaded chicken, gooey mozzarella cheese, and well-seasoned tomato sauce create a bold flavor for chicken parmesan. Choosing a fruit-forward red wine is a great way to balance out this flavor!
- The acidity in these wines creates a well-rounded flavor experience. With this said, red wines that are overly sweet and fruity are not the best choice for chicken parmesan.
- Choose wines with lower tannins. Wines with high tannins will clash with the bold flavor of chicken parmesan, while lower tannins will complement it nicely.
- Consider any recipe changes. There are many variations of chicken parmesan — some of them skip the tomato sauce altogether! If you make recipe changes or skip the sauce, make sure to consider your wine choice too.
For example, if you are not using any tomato sauce, you can serve white wine with your chicken parmesan. If you are using a lot of tomato sauce, consider picking a bolder red wine.
Best Chicken Parmesan Wine Pairings
If you already know that you will be making chicken parmesan for dinner, but aren’t sure what wine you should serve with it, here is the list of the best wines for chicken parmesan!
|Rank||Wine Type||Flavor Profile||Recommended Bottle|
|1||Pinot Noir||Dry light to medium-bodied wine, bright acidity and low tannins, fruity acidity from cherry and raspberry notes||Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2020|
|2||Barbera||Deep purple color, light-bodied character, low tannins, fruity with notes of berries and dark fruits, highly acidic||Prunotto Fiulot Barbera d'Asti 2019|
|3||Sangiovese||Dry red wine, medium-bodied with high acidity, range from earthy to fruity, notes of herbs, cherry, plum, and strawberry||Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva 2018|
|4||Merlot||Medium acidity and medium tannins, fruit-forward flavor profile, dark fruit flavor and herbal notes||Decoy Merlot 2019|
|5||Montepulciano||Medium-bodied, high tannins and high acidity, strong aroma and bold flavor, red fruit notes along with unique flavor notes as oregano, tobacco, and cocoa||Zaccagnini Il Vino Dal Tralcetto Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2019|
|6||Sparkling White Wine||Light-bodied and floral nature, refreshing crispiness||Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco Superiore|
|7||Chardonnay||Moderately acidic medium to full-bodied white wine, tastes crisp and rich, smoky and oaky notes with hints of citrus fruits, vanilla, and apple||MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019|
1. Pinot Noir
Recommended Bottle: Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2020
Pinot noir is one of the most popular red wines. One of the reasons why pinot noir is so popular is that it is very versatile and pairs nicely with a range of dishes, including chicken parmesan!
Pinot noir is a red wine grape variety and the name of the wine is made from it. This is a dry, light to medium-bodied wine. It has bright acidity and low tannins.
Pinot noir is a fruity wine that pairs well with the tomato sauce of chicken parmesan. The fruity acidity of this wine that comes from cherry and raspberry notes makes it one of the best wine pairings for the popular chicken dish!
Another reason why pinot noir is the favorite red wine of many people is that it has a very wide price range. You can get a bottle of pinot noir for a few bucks or as much as a few thousand dollars.
Recommended Bottle: Prunotto Fiulot Barbera d’Asti 2019
Barbera is a red wine grape variety that comes from Italy. The characteristic features of this varietal are the deep purple color, light-bodied character, and low tannins.
The overall flavor of barbera wines is often described as juicy. This red wine has notes of cherries and berries, including raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
Barbera wines are also highly acidic, which is one of the main reasons they pair so well with chicken parmesan.
Due to its low tannins, barbera pairs well with rich dishes. If you have prepared your chicken parmesan with lots of tomato sauce and cheese, high acidity fruity barbera is an excellent choice.
Recommended Bottle: Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva 2018
Sangiovese is a dry red wine that will make a great companion for chicken parmesan. It is a low to medium-bodied wine with high acidity.
The flavor of Sangiovese wines may differ from bottle to bottle. Some are earthy and some are fruity. You have the option of choosing Sangiovese wine that has your favorite red wine notes!
In general, however, Sangiovese wines have notes of cherry, plum, and strawberry. They may also have herbal notes of oregano and thyme. Sangiovese wines also have a unique tea leaf aroma.
Sangiovese grape variety is also used in the production of Chianti and Chianti Classico wines, which pair exceptionally well with dishes that contain rich red sauces.
Recommended Bottle: Decoy Merlot 2019
Merlot is the most commonly grown grape variety in France. This varietal is one of the most popular red wines in the world. It is also one of the most well-loved red wines in the US.
Merlot has medium acidity and medium tannins. And still, it pairs well with chicken parmesan thanks to its fruit-forward flavor profile.
Merlot is rich in dark fruit flavor notes, such as cherry and plum. It also has notes of vanilla, tobacco, cedar, and licorice.
Italian Merlot wines tend to have herbal notes too. Chicken parmesan does pair well with wines that have herbal notes. So, if you come across Italian merlot, grab it for your Italian-style dinner where the star of the show is chicken parmesan.
Recommended Bottle: Zaccagnini Il Vino Dal Tralcetto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2019
Montepulciano is a dark red Italian grape variety that is used to make wine of the same name.
While Montepulciano has high tannins, it goes well with chicken parmesan due to its high acidity and strong aroma.
Montepulciano wine is medium-bodied and has such unique flavor notes as oregano, tobacco, and cocoa. It is also somewhat fruity. This red wine has notes of such red fruits as cherry, plum, cranberry, and raspberry.
Thanks to its bold flavor, Montepulciano wine goes well with savory dishes, including chicken parmesan.
6. Sparkling White Wine
Recommended Bottle: Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco Superiore
As we have already mentioned in this article, there are numerous chicken parmesan variations. Many of them skip the tomato sauce.
If you enjoy your chicken parmesan without tomato sauce, you might as well pair it with sparkling wine. Sparkling wine is also a good pairing for chicken parmesan if the chicken fillets are baked and not pan-fried in oil.
If you are serving traditional chicken parmesan for dinner but are not really a fan of red wines, prosecco would be your best bet. In this case, we do recommend you make the tomato sauce slightly lighter.
Thanks to its light-bodied and floral nature, prosecco pairs nicely with chicken parmesan. Its crispiness is refreshing after a mouthful of hearty chicken parmesan.
Recommended Bottle: MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019
Chicken parmesan pairs well mostly with red wines. But the world of wines is so diverse that one can always find exceptions to the pairing rules.
If dry white wine is your favorite, go ahead and serve your chicken parmesan with Chardonnay!
Chardonnay is a moderately acidic medium to full-bodied white wine that goes well with such rich dishes as cheesy chicken parmesan with loads of tomato sauce.
This wine is made of green-skinned grapes that are a cross between the popular pinot noir and seldomly grown gouais blanc.
Chardonnay wine tastes crisp and rich. It has hints of citrus fruits, vanilla, and apple. Smoky and oaky notes are also characteristic of chardonnay.