Teriyaki adds a lot flavour and sweetness to chicken which makes light but fruit-forward red wines like Lambrusco, Schiava and Beaujolais the best pairings with Chicken Teriayaki. White wines are acceptable as well, and off-dry Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Torrontés will pair nicely with Teriyaki sauce.
For Chicken Teriyaki served on skewers as an Hors D’oeuvre at a cocktail reception, stick with inexpensive off-dry sparkling wines like Cava or Prosecco. As an added bonus, when you are finished with the sparkling wine, the long-stemmed flutes are a nice way to hold and dispose of the sticky skewers that nobody ever knows what to do with.
Teriyaki is a soy-based sauce seasoned with garlic and ginger and sweetened with brown sugar and honey. Because teriyaki is a dark sauce and chicken is a white meat, you don’t want a heavy red wine or a powerful white wine to swamp out the subtle poultry flavours that haven’t already been drowned out by the Teriyaki sauce.
Best Wine with Chicken Teriyaki
|White Wine||Riesling||Chicken Teriyaki||
|Red Wine||Morgon (AOP) - Beaujolais Cru||Chicken Teriyaki||
|Red Wine||Beaujolais Cru||Chicken Teriyaki||
|Red Wine||Lambrusco||Chicken Teriyaki||
|Red Wine||Schiava||Chicken Teriyaki||
|White Wine||Gewürztraminer||Chicken Teriyaki||
|White Wine||Torrontés||Chicken Teriyaki||
|Sparkling Wine||Prosecco||Chicken Teriyaki on Skewers||
|Sparkling Wine||Cava||Chicken Teriyaki on Skewers||
|Red Wine||Vinsobres||Chicken Teriyaki||
Off-Dry Riesling & Chicken Teriyaki Pairing
The savoury-sweet Teriyaki sauce is made with brown sugar, and the residual sugar in an off-dry Riesling enhances the sweeter notes while contrasting the ginger and garlic. Meanwhile, the Riesling’s bright citrus, pear, and apricot flavours complement the chicken flavours even more. Riesling can cut through the sticky Teriyaki Sauce and deliver the goods for a great finish because of its high acidity. Riesling’s acidity also keeps your taste buds refreshed between bites; otherwise, you’ll only taste the Teriyaki sauce and not the chicken after a while.
An Off-Dry Riesling is the perfect wine pairing with Chicken Teriyaki either served as an Hors d’oeuvre at a wedding or banquet as it is often an inexpensive white wine, so it helps keep costs down. Riesling is also incredibly food-friendly, making it wonderful with Chicken Teriyaki served on top of a stir fry that includes rice and chopped veggies like carrots, onion, and peas.
Lambrusco & Chicken Teriyaki Pairing
Teriyaki has a slight sweetness to it, but it’s also savoury and salty. Lambrusco is a sweet, fizzy, fruity red Italian wine that provides a refreshing contrast against the savoury and saltiness of the sauce while complementing the sweetness. With Lambrusco, expect earthy notes to complement a Chicken Teriyaki stir fry, along with juicy flavours of raspberry, strawberry and black cherry.
There are a wide variety of Lambrusco styles, and I recommend a Lambrusco di Sorbara with Chicken Teriyaki since it is the lightest style of Lambrusco, meaning it won’t flood out the tender chicken flavours. If you can’t find Lambrusco di Sorbara, no worries, as any style of Lambrusco will provide a great wine pairing experience provided you don’t go with an extra sweet style.
Schiava & Chicken Teriyaki Pairing
Schiava is a fruit-forward red wine from Italy (although it’s also available in other countries, such as Germany, where it’s known as Trollinger) that’s light and graceful. Roses, strawberry sauce, bubblegum, and cotton candy are all flavours that enhance the sweetness of Teriyaki sauce while also contrasting the savoury and salty quality of the sauce. Having said that, Schiava is typically made in a dry manner, so while it tastes sweet, there isn’t always a lot of residual sugar in the wine.
Schiava is a harder wine to track down, but is well worth it if you want to try out something off the beaten path. As people aren’t receptive to unusual wines, I wouldn’t recommend Schiava for a dinner party, it is, however, worth trying out on your own at home with Chicken Teriyaki.
Gewürztraminer & Chicken Teriyaki Pairing
The sweetness of the Teriyaki sauce, as well as the oily texture of this white wine, are complemented by a semi-sweet Gewürztraminer. Gewürztraminer is a fragrant wine with lychee and rose aromas. The wine also has a hint of ginger spiciness, which goes well with the ginger flavour used in the Teriyaki.
Highly aromatic and fruity, Gewürztraminer is a wine that likes to show off with its amazing flavours of apricot, black pepper, cashews, coconut, grapefruit, nutmeg and pineapple, making it a boisterous white wine. Made across the globe, Gewürztraminer isn’t a big crowd pleaser as it’s loud, full-bodied and often high in alcohol.
Torrontés & Chicken Teriyaki Pairing
Torrontés is a fragrant white wine with sweet flowery smells of rose, as well as peach, mineral, green apple, mango and lemon flavours. The airy and breezy flavours of Torrontés pair well with the Teriyaki sauce’s garlic and ginger flavours.
Torrontés is frequently prepared dry, which means it has plenty of acidity to balance out the sticky Teriyaki sauce. Furthermore, the intensity of the Chicken Teriyaki is light enough so it won’t overpower the wine’s delicate flavours and aromas.
Crisp, rich and round, expect a full-bodied white wine. While Spain and Chile both produce Torrontés, I often go with a Torrontés from Argentina where you’ll often find amazing quality for under $15.