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Jan 30, 2008 12:57 PM

Wine pairing for chicken roasted with cumin and Seville oranges?

While I already have a wine in mind for this dish, it's always fun to see what others suggest. The whole chicken is rubbed with Seville oranges, cumin, salt and pepper and stuffed with the spent orange wedges, garlic cloves and fresh oregano. After browning in oil, it's placed on a rack and roasted, the roasting pan being filled with chicken stock, Seville orange juice and some more garlic and oregano. The carved bird is served with the degreased and slightly reduced pan juices. Haven't decided on a side yet, though beans and rice have a certain appeal.

What would you suggest I uncork and pour?


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  1. Not sure if this will work for you, but how about Folie a Deux Menage a Trois White, a blend Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Muscat. Widely available at less than $10. 13.1% abv. It may depend on how pronounced the cumin flavors are once cooked.

    1. What immediately came to mind was Graves.

      Especially to pick up on the Seville orange. Here are my notes for the Smith Haut Lafite 2004 (Graves) $80 – Flavors of peach, lemon, Seville orange, eucalyptus, and deep honey. Complex, beautiful, with amazing depth and long finish.

      Sounds like a wonderful roast chicken. And what might you be opening?

      7 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        The Graves is an interesting idea.

        Semillon or high-semillon blends in general may be nice with this dish...

        ....for me the most no-brainer wine here is probably riesling... around kabinett. Great with chicken, great with your spices, great with fruit notes in general...

        1. re: maria lorraine

          Fascinating that not a single recco was for a red. Perhaps I should have mentioned that this bird ends up very brown, with a crisp skin and mahogany-coloured sauce. And when made with Seville oranges (the bitter kind used for marmelade), it's savoury in the extreme; there's some fruitiness but no sweetness. What's more, the fact that chicken broth is the basis of sauce means it's not searingly acidic.

          I'd originally been planning to drop by my cellar and pick up a Corsican wine or two, probably Renucci's Corse-Calvi (60% Sciacarello, 20% Grenache, 20% Syrah) and maybe my last bottle of Alzipratu's 100% Sciacarello rosé. However, it ended up being one of those days when the weather has you wondering why the hell you choose to live in this god-forsaken place (above freezing in the morning with rain, then suddenly plunging to 19ºF, turning the sidewalks into skating rinks, with wind gusts in excess of 40 MPH), so I'd decided to stay put and make do with what I had on hand. After considering a Rioja, I opted for the 2004 Lo Vièlh from Domaine de Gravillas, a 100% Carignan VDP des Côtes de Brian with a Burgundy-like texture. It proved a passable match.

          This evening I had the leftovers with leftovers: the 1993 Vouvray sec from Domaine de Clos Naudin (Foreau) and the 2005 Chianti Classico from Isole e Olena. The Vouvray didn't jibe at all. The Chianti was the best match of the three but still wasn't ideal. All of which points me back toward the Renucci. Guess I'll have to make the dish again before Seville orange season is over.

          That Smith Haut Lafitte (isn't it like 90% Sauvignon Blanc?) sounds delicious though the Naudin now has me wondering whether any white, even one that picks up the orange notes, would work.

          1. re: carswell

            Given the additional info, All-in-all the dish sounds quite positively-seasoned for riesling (cumin, peppers, garlic...) and I'd still favor it as the safest overall match, irrespective of bitter or sweetish orange notes... if the overall flavor tends to the dramatic then I might move up to spatlese here...

            just my opinion, but I wouldn't use how a dish matches with vouvray (or chenin blanc in general) as an indication of how it may match with other whites... there's something about chenin that is very unique and solitary in that regard...

            1. re: carswell

              yeah, I thought the same .. why no red? I'd opt for a nice Spanish red .. alvaro palacios (sp pardon) les terresses (again sp) warm fruit good spice will stand up well to the cumin wh/ I think really cries for a red with a good balance of both fruit and spice but still has a bit of reserve.

              1. re: carswell

                It's difficult to know, in the description of a prep, how intense or concentrated the flavors of a dish will become. Here is a dish that, as described initially, would be a wonderful white wine pairing, but when the roasting turned the skin quite dark, and the sauce became mahagony, further reduced and concentrated, then the dish's flavors increased in intensity such that it sent the pairing into the red zone. Rather understandable, especially IRT roast chicken.

                1. re: carswell

                  I thought of red when I first saw your thread title... Ribera del Duero, to be exact. But I didn't have time to post then!

                  1. re: carswell

                    Not entirely on point, but I had a pork sausage ragu over pasta that has similarities to your chicken. The sausage had a heavy dose of cumin. The sauce included garlic, shallots, tomatoes, dried chili flakes, and oregano. I had considered the Ch. d'Oupia Minervois, but opted for a Muga which went very well. I'd give Rioja a shot next time you make the chicken.

                    And thanks for the warning about Vouvray. I had thought about suggesting it and having it with my meal as well. In retrospect, the cumin would just overwhelm it.

                2. The Graves is interesting, my one reservation would be I don't know how sweet the OJ will make the dish.

                  The first thing I thougt of was Alsatian (Tokay) Pinot Gris. A Riesling or Scheurebe would also work.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: whiner

                    I think one of the fruit focused Albarinos from Spain would be lovely.

                    1. re: whiner

                      Hmm, Alsatian sounds good too, but I was thinking a Gewurztraminer, the grapefruit/rose flavours might match well with Seville orange and cumin.

                    2. Oh that does sound marvelous!

                      I would have been willing to try a nice fruit forward New World Pinot Noir, maybe that Chilean Cono Sur Pinot? Or something from California? I'm thinking Au Bon Climat. I like Pinot Noir with roast chicken, although I must say I don't know how the cumin would interact with the mix...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: moh

                        the wines by Solar de Randez, out of Rioja, all show a distinct orange rind note as well as red fruits and spices. The crianza has a brightness to it's acidity that would match the boldness of the flavors, but a riper tannin that wouldn't overwhelm the chicken.

                      2. A sweetish red wine. Sounds like some of the classic Georgian reds would go wonderfully, but you'll probably find it impossible to lay your hands on them sadly.