Filipino Chicken Adobo pairs best with lighter but medium-bodied red wines that have plenty of acidity, such as, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais Villages, Chianti, Barbera and Dolcetto. Acidity is a must as Chicken Adobo is marinated in vinegar which can clash with red wines lacking acidity. You’ll also want red wines low in alcohol, otherwise, the hot spices used in Chicken Adobo will taste even hotter as they will end up being further fueled by the alcohol.
For white wine pairings, an Off-dry Riesling, Oaked Chardonnay or a Sparkling White Wine, such as Cava, are exceptional with Chicken Adobo. White wines with a hint of residual sugar help tone down the hot spices used in Chicken Adobo.
Chicken Adobo is a Filipino dish where Chicken Thighs are marinated in vinegar, oil, soy sauce, garlic, ground cumin, and chilli flakes for several hours. Incredibly flavourful, Chicken Adobo is tough to find a perfect wine for as the flavours are so bold and powerful. Lighter wines are crushed by the Adobo’s sweet and tangy flavours, while heavier red wines clash with the vinegar and spices, making the wine taste like fire and tin.
Best Wine with Chicken Adobo
New World Pinot Noir & Chicken Adobo Pairing
Pinot Noir is a silky and fruity red wine with a mysterious earthiness that has a mushroom, truffle and forest floor aroma. While a lighter old world style might not hold up to the sticky flavours of Chicken Adobo, a new world style of Pinot Noir from New Zealand, California and Oregon should have enough weight to hold up to this Filipino Dish.
Pinot Noir’s refreshing flavours of cherry, raspberry and strawberry provide plenty of refreshment against the pungent garlic, herbs, soy sauce flavours of Chicken Adobo without burying the savoury chicken flavours. Meanwhile, the high acidity of Pinot Noir jives well with the vinegar-based sauce the chicken was marinated and braised in. Finally, the smoky, truffle, herb and dark chocolate flavours complement the soy sauce, herbs and garlic notes in the Chicken Adobo sauce.
Chianti Classico & Chicken Adobo Pairing
Chianti Classico is a rustic red wine from Italy that jives perfectly with the savoury soy sauce, herb and garlic flavours of your Chicken Adobo. What do we mean by rustic red wine? It means that Chianti Classico tastes like you’d expect Italy to taste like. Flavours of cherry tomato, oregano, meat, smoke, coffee and tobacco all intertwine with each sip of Chianti, and these flavours are beautiful when combined with a big bite of Chicken Adobo.
Despite its rustic charm, Chianti is bright with notes of cherries, plum and strawberries, so it still serves up plenty of refreshment for you to enjoy. Chianti is also high in acidity, allowing it to hold up to the aggressive nature of vinegar used in Chicken Adobo.
Barbera & Chicken Adobo Pairing
An Italian Barbera is a little more fruit forward and smoother than Chianti, making it a bigger crowd-pleaser for larger dinner parties where guests may not appreciate the rustic flavours of Chianti Classico.
Low in alcohol but high in acidity, Barbera won’t clash with the vinegar-based Adobo sauce, nor will it fuel the heat found in any chilli flakes found in the sauce. Refreshing notes of cherry, plum, raspberry and cassis provide a velvety contrast to the savoury flavours of Chicken Adobo. Meanwhile, you’ll also find hints of herbs, mineral, earth, smoke, spice and black pepper that integrate with the soy sauce, garlic and herbs that coat your delicious chicken.
Off-dry Riesling & Spicy Chicken Adobo Pairing
Riesling has a piercing arrow of lemon, lime and green apple that crashes through the thick flavours of the Chicken Adobe sauce and wrings the sticky garlic, soy sauce and oily flavours out of your mouth in between bites. With an Off-Dry Riesling, which is slightly sweet, you’ll find a kiss of residual sugar that tames and chili flakes, stealing away some of the burn, and letting those savoury and earthy chili flavours to shine through.
Where Riesling fails is that it does not complement the savoury flavours of Chicken Adobo. There is a touch of minerality and smoke to Riesling that does jive with soy sauce, which does make this a strong pairing, but in most instances, Riesling will only contrast your Chicken Adobo. For a white wine that will complement Chicken Adobo, check out my write-up on Chardonnay below.
Oaked Chardonnay & Chicken Adobo Pairing
Oaked Chardonnay is an odd choice for Chicken Adobo as Chardonnay is often a no-no when pairing with Asian food. Chardonnay isn’t incredibly acidic, which is often a must with vinegar-based sauces, however, there’s just enough there to not clash with the Adobo sauce the chicken is braised in. Notes of apple, lemon, apricot, peach and pear ensure you are always refreshed against the garlic, soy sauce and herbs that dominate the flavours of Chicken Adobo. Meanwhile, the toasty oak notes of vanilla, coconut, almond and butter blend well with the smoky and savoury flavours of Chicken Adobo, providing an amazing finish as food and wine intertwine.