Gettin our Chicken on!

The grill that it and our favorite writer tell us what to pair it with!

 


We’ve had grilled chicken on the brain recently, and for some inspired recipes check out our recent article Great Grilled Chickens! Of course there are near infinite permutations of grilled chicken recipes and the wines that work with them so we asked our ever astute panel of wine experts to give us their thoughts on the pressing issues of grilled chicken recipes and the proper wines to pair with them. You wouldn’t want to be caught with the wrong wine at this summer’s fancy soiree so take a look at what the experts advise. And then realise that there is no right answer, just fabulous suggestions to inspire you both at the grill and in cellar this sumptuous summer!

Mary Cressler

Chicken almost always runs the challenge of drying out while cooking on the outdoor grill.  It’s taken us years to finally arrive on a chicken recipe we absolutely love, and one that is juicy, tender, and full of flavor.  It all comes down to proper technique on the grill and a flavorful glaze applied towards the end of the grilling process.  The recipe, found here-- can be paired with anything from a full-bodied rosé to a fruity medium-bodied red with good acid, like the Barbera I recommended in the post.

 

Mary Cressler

 

 

Bill Eyer

Grilled Jerk Chicken, I use this recipe often. Paired with an older vintage, high-toned Zinfandel, preferably Old Vine, talking 50 plus years or more.

 

Bill Eyer

Richard Jennings

My favorite grilled chicken is pretty simple, involving plenty of butter and lots of herbs: garlic, oregano, rosemary and thyme. This can be outstanding with a good Côtes du Rhône that echoes the herbs in the chicken.
 
One of the top values amongst the 2011 Côtes du Rhône now hitting the market, retailing for an average of $17 across the country, is the 2011 Mas de Boislauzon Côtes du Rhône Villages - Opaque ruby color; appealing, roasted cherry, baked cherry, ripe berry nose; tasty, plush, ripe berry, roasted cherry, garrigue, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre) 92 points
 
 
Richard Jennings

 

Jameson Fink

I'd like chicken thighs grilled up, sliced, and served on corn tortillas with a kickin' red salsa. Pair it with a Lambrusco, dry or with a touch of sweetness. And drink it out of a (clean, empty) jelly jar! No need for highfalutin stemware.

 

Jameson Fink

Susannah Gold

When I make grilled chicken, I usually just marinate it with great olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage and sometimes oregano (depends what's in the garden) and leave it for a while. I have added mustard at time but I like recipes with very few ingredients. It takes all of 5 minutes and of course, fresh herbs to make this. In terms of pairing the wine, it depends what mood I am in but a nice French wine from E. Guigal from the Cote Rotie works perfectly. Côte-Rôtie "Brune & Blonde de GUIGAL", 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier.
 
 
Susannah Gold

Jon Thorsen

Our favorite grilled chicken recipe is one my wife found on Epicurious: Grilled Chicken Kebabs with red onion and mint . This is our go-to dish when we have friends over in the summer --- the one that everybody loves and demands the recipe for. And while the specific wine we serve with it varies, it's almost always a Torrontés. 
 
One great choice is the refreshing, crisp and delicious Colomé Torrontés. Available for less than $15, this wine features pleasing and fresh aromas of citrus, honey, and peach. Those same flavors are found when tasting along with a little guava, papaya and other tropical fruits. The wine also has excellent acidity and an outstanding finish.
 
 
Jon Thorsen

 

Julia Crowley

My husband loves to grill, but grilling chicken has not been at the top of the list for his best grilled meals...until recently.  And, I owe it all to my wine writing, wine loving pal Mary Cressler, of the fabulous wine blog Vindulge, and her grill master husband, Sean.  Sean's Basic Grilled and Glazed Chicken Recipe is fool proof and the absolute best grilled chicken of all-time.  The day we made chicken grilling history in our household (thanks to Sean) was on a very rare 80 degree April afternoon in the South Willamette Valley, so I sought out a wine a wine with complexity that could be served chilled. I found J.K. Carriere Glass 2013 Willamette Valley White Pinot Noir - a truly incredible wine and a super fine match with the Grilled and Glazed Chicken because of its excellent acidity.  Aromas and flavors of lemon/lime zest were prominent with undertones of baked apple pie, almonds and earth.  Crisp, refreshing and beautifully balanced, with a juicy mouthfeel that beckoned for more with each bite of grilled chicken.  It was pure bliss.

 

Julia Crowley

Clifford Brown

When it comes to grilled chicken, we’re pretty straight forward.  I love to apply some homemade dry rub to the meat, wrap it in plastic and stick it in the refrigerator for several hours.  This allows the dry rub to draw out some of the juices from the chicken and then get reabsorbed back in taking some of the seasoning with it.  To grill the meat, I cook it over indirect heat for about 20 to 30 minutes until it is just about cooked through.  At that point, I crank up the heat, slather the meat with some barbecue sauce and allow the sauce to caramelize and get dark grill marks.  After flipping the meat and re-applying the sauce each time, I remove the meat and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before we dig in.  (picture attached if needed)
 
Since we’re talking barbecue, I always serve a nice zinfandel with this type of chicken.  A favorite is a richer, less tannic style.  Carlisle makes several appellation zinfandels, the last time I made this dish, I opened a 2008 Carlisle Sonoma County Zinfandel. 
 
 
The wine is a deep, dark, ruby color.  The sexy and inviting nose has black raspberries, white pepper, melted licorice, violets, dried herbs, and lesser notes of baking spice, dark bittersweet chocolate, and underbrush.  This has fairly full body, moderate ripe tannins, and outstanding acidity.  The palate starts off with solid black raspberries and pepper with the dried herbs and dark chocolate building quickly, on the back end a floral note and some earthiness come into the picture adding even more depth and complexity.  The long, lingering finish showcases the juicy berries, chocolate, and earthiness with the acidity giving a lot of lift and brightness.  This is in a nice drinking window, and the tannins and acidity will keep this alive and kicking through most of the decade.  (92 pts)
 
 
Cliff Brown
 

 

Alissa Leenher

I like to do my grandmother's marinade a lot.  Apple Cider Vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, an egg.  Marinate for about 3-4 hours.  It's versatile so I would have to decide sides before pairing but the Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier blend would work well.

 

Alissa Leenher

 

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