How to pair wine with chicken wings

Chicken wings in sauce are a mainstay at house parties, bars, barbecues, brunches, Super Bowl festivities and even wedding receptions. While fried chicken has southern roots in the United States, coating chicken wings in a spicy butter sauce is said to have been invented in 1964 at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.

While some like to enjoy a cold beer with their wings on – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – there are also fantastic wine pairings. Whether you like them hot, sweet, spicy or grilled, you can bet there’s a wine out there to pair with your favorite sauces.

bison wings

Balance is the key to pairing the wine with Buffalo Wings, which come in different heat levels, from mild to medium to hot.

“The goal is to have a balance between the butter in the sauce and the body in the wine, sweet and spicy, complemented by a nice acidity to keep the palate refreshed,” says Jordan Lynn Traylor, Certified Sommelier, Chef and Advisor. in wine.

“When butter and hot sauce are the party, off-dry Riesling and Gewürztraminer are always on the guest list,” says Traylor. “These grapes are the perfect participants because not only will the hint of sweetness in the wine cool off the heat and spiciness, but they also have enough body and va-va-voom to stand up to that buttery sauce.”

Vanessa Price, DWS, author of Big Mac & Bourgogne: Food and wine pairing for the real world, and creative director and founder of The Vinum Collective, a lifestyle platform to help increase wine accessibility, recommends off-dry Chenin Blanc.

“The light sugar – not entirely sweet! – will mellow out the heat, the bright citrus will turn flavor for flavor and the backbone of the chenin – the acidity! – will clear that buttery sauce, leaving your mouth ready for the next sip and bite. ,” says Price.

Sriracha wings

Fried and tossed in a sweet and spicy sriracha sauce, these wings tend to have salty and umami flavors. To deal with this complexity, Price recommends a Mediterranean red like Minervois Rouge.

“The blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache offers a supple texture and ripe fruit that will accompany sauces without fighting or overpowering them, while the smoky and peppery notes will meld into the piquant layered flavors of both sauces,” she says. .

Traylor recommends Viognier because she says the acidity helps bring out the flavors in the sauce. “This style of wine often has hints of ginger and other spices often found in Thai cuisine and will sing harmoniously between bite and sip.”

Bubbles work too, says Larissa Dubose, CSW, founder of The Lotus & the Vines, a wine education platform. “Brachetto d’Acqui and [sweet and spicy sriracha wings] make a fun pairing. The sweetness of the wine helps calm the heat on the wings while the bubbles act as little palate cleansers for the next spicy bite.

a barbecue wings

Whether it’s mustard or vinegar-based, this regional-style sauce is so flavorful, you’ll need a wine that will hold up.

“Barbecue is the holy grail of amalgamation that requires an equally diverse wine,” Price says. “A rosato, also spelled rosado, offers that in spades. Hot pink styles at this end of the pink drink spectrum have a more medium to full body, as opposed to lighter Provence styles, which is exactly what this heavy sauce needs to hold the line.

Dubose also thinks rosé is the perfect complement to barbecue wings.

“It’s such a versatile and friendly style of wine, and depending on where in the world it’s from, there are lots of options,” she says. “Bugey-Cerdon is a delicious option for a sweeter BBQ sauce. This light sparkling rosé from the Jura region of France perfectly complements the sweetness of the sauce.

For those who prefer red wine with their barbecue, Dubose offers a Gamay du Beaujolais. “This light to medium-bodied wine with flavors of red fruits is the perfect pairing with barbecue wings, especially when served with a light chill.

Lemon Pepper Wings

Made with a dry blend of ground pepper, lemon zest and other seasonings, these fried favorites are a perfect foil for bubbles.

Dubose offers a Blanc de Blancs Champagne. “Champagne and fried chicken is one of my favorite pairings,” she says, and notes that this specific pairing is “a heavenly pairing. This style of champagne complements the acidity of the wings while the citrus flavors complement each other beautifully.

Infographic by Eric DeFreitas

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