Chicken

Jukes Wine And Food Chicken

Chicken is very accommodating – it loves both whites and reds. But be careful because it is a touch fussy when it comes to the precise grape varieties you want to set it up with. Chardonnay is chicken’s favourite white grape, with Riesling coming in a close second. Pinot Noir is the bird’s favourite red (it’s every bird’s favourite red, be honest!), with Gamay, perhaps surprisingly, claiming the runner up spot. This means that a well-educated, classy chicken loves every village in my beloved Burgundy region, and who can blame it? Lighter dishes such as cold chicken or turkey are fairly versatile, so look to my al fresco-style wines in the ‘Picnics’ section. Cold chicken and ham pie work well with lighter, fragrant reds and deeper coloured, sturdy rosés from the southern Rhône, Beaujolais and Australia. If you are feeling adventurous then try chilling down a bottle of Beaujolais-Villages to white wine temperature – it’s a super if unusual match. Poached chicken can handle the same sort of wines but with a little more flesh – both Old and New World Pinot Noir work here. White wine companions include lighter New World Chardonnay or French Country Viognier and Marsanne/Roussanne blends. Possibly my favourite dish of all time, roast chicken, follows this theme once again but takes it a stage further. Finer (by that I mean more expensive) red and white Burgundy, elegant, cooler climate New Zealand, Australian or Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and top-flight Beaujolais (again) are all wonderful matches. Coq au vin also works well with red Burgundy, but you can scale the wine down to a Chalonnaise version, Hautes-Côtes or Bourgogne rouge (from one of the reputable producers, of course). Chicken casserole or pot pie ups the ante even further and it enjoys a broader wine brief. Medium-weight Rhône reds and New World Grenache-based wines, as well as mildly oaky Chardonnays, are all in with a shout. Chicken and mushroom pie, fricassee and other chicken dishes with creamy sauces call out to Chardonnay and beyond – dry Riesling from Germany, Alsace (France), or Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Frankland or Tasmania (Australia), Alsatian Pinot Gris and funky Rhône whites. New World Pinot Noir (from California, New Zealand and Tassie and Victoria in Oz) is the only red variety to feel truly at home here. OK, so far things have been fairly straightforward, but I am now going to throw a few obstacles in front of our feathered friend, as chicken Kiev changes the rules completely. Full, rich and even part-oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon/Semillon blends are needed to take on the buttery/garlic onslaught – white Graves (Bordeaux) and California does this well with their Fumé Blancs, as does Margaret River in Western Australia, but watch this space as this style is starting to be made all over the world. Not content with this hurdle, coronation chicken, depending on who is making it (I like a lot of spicy naughtiness in my sauce), can also have a bit of a kick, so dry Riesling from New Zealand or Clare Valley/Eden Valley in South Australia would be worth unscrewing. Lastly, barbecued chicken wings can be nuclear-hot (my brother Si Jukesy is a veritable Tardis when it comes to slotting these) and, in my experience, beer is usually the best bet. If, for some reason, you would like to try this dish with a bottle of wine (are you mad?), then a clean, inexpensive New World Chardonnay with a hint of oak won’t let itself down.