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Wines for harissa roast chicken

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I'm serving a harissa roast chicken for company later this week. I haven't decided on details yet, but odds are there will be some carrots and onions with it (in the roasting pan), and I may serve it with some polenta.

I'd love some wine recommendations for pairing, both red and white if both are appropriate. Both specific wines or general advice would be appreciated. Would like to keep bottles at $20 or below.


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  1. Personally, I'd go with ale, dark beer, or hard cider.

    1. Easy....

      In whites go with riesling or gewurztraminer for this specific dish... If your goal is $20 or less then you can basically forget the better gewurztraminers... and focus on rieslings as advised by your best-stocked local wine shop.

      Reds in general just aren't going to work with harissa...

      Enjoy and please report back.

      1. Go red.

        I'd get a nice Chateau Musar (Liban) or a southern Côtes du Rhône or maybe a nice Sicilian.

        1. For red, go low tannin (with spicy foods, tannins can become unpleasant). I'd go Beaujolais. Chinon would also work.

          For white, Riesling or bright, unoaked Spanish white.

            1. re: Chinon00

              I could dig Marsanne here if the chili level isn't too high.

            2. How spicy is the harissa? If it's got much punch at all, I think you're looking at an off-dry white wine or beer. If you are certain you want to go with wine, look for a spatlese riesling from Germany or Gerwurtraminer from the Alsace that is off dry.
              I've liked sangiovese with spicy marinara, but red wines generally don't pair well with heat.

              1. If the harissa has a bitter finish, I might try the under-$20 Amarone that Trader Joe's sells.

                1. Thanks so much, all. I am no stranger to harissa and beer together at a meal, but I this will be a wine meal. It looks like Riesling is a common recommendation. That works wonderfully, as it matches with one guest's general wine preference. I'll explore your ideas on reds a bit more, though I may just go with white.

                  It is a moderately spicy, non bitter harissa to my palate.

                  I'll report back!