Chicken Parmesan pairs best with fruity but herbal reds like Chianti Classico, Barbera, Dolcetto, Primitivo, and Pinot Noir. When it comes to red wine, acidity is a must, as wines that are balanced heavier with tannin will clash with the tomato sauce. Thus, with Chicken Parmesan, you’ll want to avoid any red wines that have seen heavy aging in oak, as oak adds tannin.
For white wines to match with Chicken Parmesan, an Italian Pinot Grigio or Soave will pair up just fine, however it won’t blow your mind. Sparkling wines, such as Champagne and Prosecco work better than white wine as the bubbles clear your palate of the rich tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, and fried breading. If the Chicken Parmesan is served on a bed of buttery noodles, Chardonnay is a pairing worth writing home about.
Best Wine with Chicken Parmigiana
Chianti Classico & Chicken Parmesan Pairing
Chianti Classico is a red Italian Wine that is 80% Sangiovese. High in acidity, Chianti Classico gets along great with the rich tomato sauce, and complements the sweet tomato flavours with its bright cherry and plum flavours. The high acidity of Chianti also cuts through the fried breading of the chicken breast, elevating the chicken flavours higher, so they aren’t completely buried underneath the sauce, mozzarella cheese and breading.
With Chianti Classico, you’re also going to get plenty of earth, herbs, minerals and smoke with each sip, which blends in perfectly with any herbs added to your rich tomato sauce.
Italian wine can be confusing to buy, but Chianti Classico makes it easy. On the neck of every bottle, you should see a black rooster. If you can only find Chianti, this means the wine was not produced in the original Chianti region. As Chianti grew in popularity, so did the wine region’s borders. A bottle labelled Chianti also means the wine only needs to be 70% Sangiovese, and you risk not get that classic Chianti profile as grapes such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon may blur its trademark flavour profile. With Chianti Classico, that silhouette of the black rooster ensures you’ll get the classic flavours of Chianti.
Barbera d’Alba & Chicken Parmesan Pairing
Barbera d’Alba is a medium-bodied and fruity red wine from Italy that features high acidity and bright notes of black and red cherries, along with plums, blackberries, herbs, earth and spice. The high acidity of Barbera d’Alba makes it an instant friend with the tomato sauce, while the warm herbal and earthy notes of Barbera complement the stewed tomato sauce. Finally, the refreshing acidity of Barbera keeps your taste buds clean and clear in between bites, ensuring every bite of Chicken Parmesan tastes like that first glorious bite.
What is the Difference Between Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti?
Barbera d’Alba will be slightly fuller-bodied and lower in acidity than Barbera d’Asti and features tangier fruit flavours. Barbera d’Alba isn’t produced in high volumes as Barolo and Barbaresco, which are also grown in this region, have taken off in popularity and are in higher demand. Meanwhile, Barbera d’Asti is seen as the historical origin of Italian Barbera wines and is made in a lighter and elegant style with a similar profile but subtler flavours.
Both Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti will go great with Chicken Parmesan, however, I prefer Barbera d’Alba, by a smidge, as I often taste tarter and fruity flavours when compared to d’Asti.
Valpolicella Classico & Chicken Parmigiana Pairing
Valpolicella Classico is an inexpensive and casual red wine from Italy that pairs pairs great with Chicken Parmigiana due to its high acidity acidity and low tannin. Black cherry, herbs, and spicy fruit dominate Valpolicella Classico, making it a suitable partner for a rich and savoury tomato sauce. If I were having Chicken Parmesan at business lunch, Valpolicella Classico would be the red wine I’d reach for as it is low in alcohol and uplifting with its bright cherry flavours. This means you won’t get drunk at business lunch and embarrass yourself. Plus the friendly nature of the wine will keep you confident and loose during your lunch.
Italian Primitivo & Chicken Parmigiana Pairing
An Italian Primitivo is a medium-bodied and dry red wine with a hint of sweetness due to its refreshing flavours of cherries, raspberries and blackberries. You’ll also find some wonderful notes of black pepper, smoke, spice, dark chocolate and tobacco that further enrich its wine match with Chicken Parmigiana. The rustic flavours of Primitivo marry well with the tomato sauce and earthy aspects of the melted Mozzarella cheese.
Low in tannin and balanced with medium acidity, Primitivo won’t clash with the Tomato sauce. The acidity of Primitivo will cut through the fried breading of your chicken breast, where the sweet fruitiness of the wine enhances the tender chicken flavours.
If you are unable to find a Primitivo, a Californian Zinfandel makes for a suitable substitution. Primitivo and Zinfandel are essentially the same grape. With a California Zinfandel, you’re going to lose that herbal and earthy charm of Primitivo and instead get a jammier or fruit-forward red wine.
Prosecco & Chicken Parmesan Paring
White wine is okay with Chicken Parm but it doesn’t sing as well when compared to red wine. Popular white wines are dry, crisp and acidic, so while they won’t clash with tomato sauce, they won’t exactly complement it. Sparkling wine, like Prosecco, on the other hand, features the same dry and crisp flavours of white wine but also has a lovely toasty breadiness to it that complements the breading coating your Chicken Parmesan. If you were having a banquet and serving Chicken Parmesan, I would suggest offering Prosecco as an alternative to white wine for this course. Even more beneficial, Prosecco is inexpensive yet high in quality, which also makes it great for banquets.
Crisp with notes of apricot, lime, apples, and pear, Prosecco provides plenty of much-needed refreshment against the rich weight of the cheesy tomato sauce and breading. The bubbles of Prosecco whisk these flavours away in between each bite, ensuring your next bite will taste just as delicious. You also get an almond-like nuttiness on the finish that complements the Mozzarella Cheese, along with any noodles that may accompany your Chicken Parmesan.