Finding the right wine pairing can add an extra element of enjoyment to any meal. Wines can heighten the sensation of various flavors within foods when paired properly. However, choosing the right wine can be difficult. Though some would assume that chicken parmigiana should be paired with a white wine, red wines are actually a superior pairing for this dish.
No White Wine
A common misconception about wine pairings is that the meat determines the proper wine to serve. Though the meat is an important element of wine pairing, the sauces used with pastas are also very important. For red sauces, as are used in chicken parmigiana, a red wine and not a white should be served, even though chicken is the meat component.
Sangiovese, a red Italian-style wine, was most likely introduced to California by Italian immigrants in the 1800s. The wine has a medium body with moderate to high levels of natural acidity. Sangiovese is also known as a fairly fruity wine. Sangiovese is popular with any kind of red sauce pasta, including chicken parmigiana.
Merlot is a lush red wine with plum, caramel and black cherry flavorings. Many varieties of Merlot lend themselves to delicious food pairings. Cabernet-style Merlots go well with grilled or charred meats, much like cabernets, making them a good pairing for chicken parmigiana, especially if the chicken is grilled before being used in the dish.
Pinot noir is one of the most versatile wines to use for pairing with foods because it is extremely light-bodied for a red varietal. Because of its versatility, pinot noir can work well with either chicken or red sauce pasta on their own, and can work just as well when the two foods are consumed in combination.
References and ResourcesWined In: Pairing Selections
Pair Wine With Food; Pinot Noir Food Pairings and Recipes; January 2009