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Oct 22, 2012 02:23 PM

Wine to go with Molly Stevens' Moroccan Chicken w/Green Olives & Preserved Lemons

I've made this recipe a few times and have been, generally, unhappy with the wines that my friends have brought to accompany the meal. The dish has a very lemony and slightly salty tang to it. I'm having some folks over in a couple of weeks who've had the dish before, and they've requested that I make it again. I agreed, but told them I'd also like do the wine this time.

I'm thinking about 3 possibilities - a Rully, a Spatburgunder, or a Reisling. My friends brought a Zinfandel the last time and it was agreed that it was too strong, so I'm thinking of the 3 wines I mentioned because they are not really strong. My hesitation is selecting 1 of them is that I'm not sure how their pair up with the lemon/salt taste. I'm hoping someone has served, or eaten, this dish, or something like it, before and has a personal experience recommendation.

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  1. A few suggestions"novice" suggestions for you; the first is White Rioja, heavily oaked, which gives the wine intense deep lemon flavours. This flavour works really well with olives and garlic and will also pick up on the preserved lemon.Another type of wine to try would be a top-notch Italian Verdicchio with a bitter almond finish. It will be more subtle in flavour than a White Rioja but works well with olive and Moroccan flavors. Also consider a White Southern Rhone.

    1. You need a high acidity wine to go with the lemon. A Riesling will work on the acidity front but it's floral/fruit components may clash a bit. If you can't find the wines Bacchus101 recommended, try a well balanced pinot grigio, sancerre or chablis.

      Avoid wines that are very round or soft.

      1. No way I would do red wine with this dish. I think I'd like a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape best with the Moroccan flavors. Riesling would be a "default" choice... not bad, but probably nothing special. (and I would think it would need to be an Alsatian Riesling, stylewise).

        1. Beer - The malt backbone of many beers will be able to balance and/or absorb the olive and lemon character of the dish. Something like a saison or a hefeweizen would work well I think.

          1. Vouvray pairs remarkably well with chicken and green olives. That's what I thought of immediately, and I am taken back to the time and exact place when I first experienced the two together. It's also fairly inexpensive. The grape is Chenin Blanc, but I prefer Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Even the B&G Vouvray at about $10 isn't too bad -- I was surprised. Of course, there are better versions. See below.

            I'd also recommend Gavi (the cortese grape), and Erbaluce. These are two other wines that pair well with the ingredients you've listed.

            Vouvray recs here:

            By the way you could do a search for each of these wines -- Vouvray, Gavi, and Erbaluce -- and your ingredients on Google, and you can read other writeups of similar pairings.