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Jan 15, 2013 10:08 AM

Pairing Question

We are planning on having white chili with chicken this evening. What wine do you suggest to pair with it. I was thinking a light white wine. SWMBO prefers white but would a spicy red pair good with the chili? Thanks,


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  1. I would probably go with a Beaujolais Villages. (NOT Nouveau!) Its fruity forwardness and low tannins go well with spicy food.

    1. Unless a recipe is rich or fatty (say steak in bernaise), bold red wines with all their bitter tannic bite overwhelm lighter dishes and the bitterness can make eating spicy food uncomfortable (plus the alcohol tends to poke through).

      If it's a mild spicy level, (say red chili flakes on pizza) - then a light red can work with chicken. Beaujolais is a good rec as is a low alcoholic Pinot Noir or a low alcoholic Chianti or other Sangiovese blend (14% and under is my cutoff but that's arbitrary). Sometimes a low alcoholic Grenache blend can work as well.

      For tabasco//Thai spicy levels better to go with a white. Riesling or Gewurtzraminer are high acid varietals with a bit of sweetness that work well with spicy foods.

      1. Went with a chardonnay as the chili was kind of creamy and thought that it would hold up. I thought it went very well. Thanks for the tips.

        1. hands down the safest wines for this meal are gewurztraminer, riesling, or scheurebe. There is no way they will not all match "chili" and "chicken", it's just a question of the extent of the match. Adding a hint of garlic, a hint of basil or other savory herb just brings it that much closer to these wine. Given the "chili" I'm going to avoid chardonnay here... stick with these reccos and Enjoy! PS: for variety try a wheat beer here, also great with these ingredients.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TombstoneShadow

            Thanks for the reccos, but it did nit have much "chili" taste to it and the chardonnay that I picked up was nice but now that I think about it a Riesling or something with more acid would have cut through the creaminess well.

            1. re: Knockahoma

              Knock if there's more creaminess and less chili, then I would prefer a chardonnay here... it matches tremendously well with "cream"..., better in fact to my palate than my 3 reccos. sorry I missed the cream mention in your 2n'd post....

              So to me in this dish it really comes down to the chili / cream balance...If there's just a hint of chili then I'm fine with chardonnay and that dish... especially if there's some other chardonnay attractors like grill smoke or garlic...