Chicken Parmigiana makes one heck of a meal. What makes it absolutely perfect, is a delicious glass of wine with it.
Picking the right wine can be a bit of a task, but I am here to help!
This guide will take you through all that you need to know about pairing the perfect wine with this dish!
Sourced from hours’ worth of intensive research into the OG books and their repertoire of knowledge, alongside expert opinion, and time-tested personal experience, this is your go-to guide for picking the best possible wine to enjoy with your plate of delicious Chicken Parmigiana!
Without further ado, let us get right into it.
About Chicken Parmigiana
Chicken Parmigiana is an Italian dish made with breaded fried Chicken Breast with Tomato sauce and Parmesan Cheese.
Variations and offshoots aside, chicken Parmigiana as you know it always contains the same batch of basic ingredients: Chicken breast, often butterflied, breadcrumbs, Italian seasonings, Neapolitan tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
These ingredients can see minor changes depending on the cook’s preference, but for the most part, when you order “chicken parm” in a restaurant or your mom says it’s what’s for dinner, you know what you’re getting.
Wine Pairing with Chicken Parmigiana
Go for a medium-bodied wine that is more acidic than the tomato sauce and low in tannins to match the white meat. The red wines above are easy to drink, and have lots of fruit aromas like sour cherry and soft tannins.
Now, let us move on to the individual wine recommendations with your Chicken Parmigiana!
1. Pinot Noir
|Taste||Dry and sweet|
|Primary Flavors||Cherry and raspberry|
|Serving Temperature (C)||55-60 degrees|
|Storage (years)||5 years|
|Wine Body||Light - Medium|
|Alcohol % (ABV)||12-15%|
Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned grape variety that is native to Burgundy, France. Pinot Noir wines are light to medium body and range in style from light and fruity to complex with aging capability.
Pinot Noir is produced around the world despite being notoriously difficult to grow.
The fruity and acidic body of Pinot Noir ensures that this red wine can cut through the rich spices in your Chicken Parmigiana. Meanwhile, the forest floor flavors will complement the herby notes in the dish excellently.
Pinot noir is one of the most versatile wines to use for pairing with foods because it is extremely light-bodied for a red varietal.
Because of its versatility, pinot noir can work well with either chicken or red sauce pasta on their own, and can work just as well when the two foods are consumed in combination.
Without acidity, we often find ourselves cramming food into our mouths, trying to recapture those first few delicious bites.
However, it’s impossible without wine, as the fatty Chicken Parmigiana clogs up our taste buds with coating after coating of the ingredients.
With acidic wine, such as the widely loved and adored Pinot Noir, the fats are scrubbed away, and you end up eating far less as yours are sated and satisfied much earlier.
Also, don’t forget to check out this guide to know more about the exquisite wine that is the Pinot Noir:
2. Chianti Classico
|Taste||Sweet and slightly spicy|
|Primary Flavors||Cherry, earth|
|Serving Temperature (C)||60 degrees|
|Glass Type||Standard red|
|Storage (years)||10 years|
|Alcohol % (ABV)||12%|
The expression Chianti Classico suggests the oldest and most genuine area in the Chianti region.
As a matter of fact, Chianti is a vast area in Tuscany and is divided into 7 sub-zones, each one producing its Chianti wine with a specific name and label.
This wine pairs exceptionally with Chicken Parmigiana as it is fruity, herbal, smoky and acidic.
The acidity of Chianti Classico cuts through the rich butter and cheese, bringing out the full flavor of the Parmigiana magnificently.
Chianti Classico is a red Italian Wine that is 80% Sangiovese. High in acidity, Chianti Classico gets along great with the rich tomato sauce, and complements the sweet tomato flavors with its bright cherry and plum flavors.
The high acidity of Chianti also cuts through the fried breading of the chicken breast, elevating the chicken flavors higher, so they aren’t completely buried underneath the sauce, mozzarella cheese, and bread.
With Chianti Classico, you’re also going to get plenty of earth, herbs, minerals, and smoke with each sip, which blends in perfectly with any herbs added to your rich tomato sauce.
Italian wine can be confusing to buy, but Chianti Classico makes it easy.
On the neck of every bottle, you should see a black rooster. If you can only find Chianti, this means the wine was not produced in the original Chianti region.
Here’s a video that explains more about this delicious and highly desirable wine, brought straight to you from the groves of Tuscany:
|Taste||Juicy and fruity|
|Primary Flavors||Strawberry and sour cherry|
|Serving Temperature (C)||55-58 degrees|
|Storage (years)||4 years|
|Wine Body||Medium - full|
|Alcohol % (ABV)||13-15%|
Barbera is a red wine that is also naturally acidic and low in tannin.
You’ll see it grown in British Columbia, Argentina, Australia, and California; however, Italy is where it’s most famous.
Barbera hails from the Piedmont region, and you’ll see it referred to as Barbera d’Alba, which is fuller-bodied or Barbera d’Asti, which is lighter-bodied and more acidic.
You may also spot Barbera del Monferrato, a lean, acidic style of Barbera featuring fresh red fruit flavors.
Barbera is a medium-bodied and fruity red wine from Italy that features high acidity and bright notes of black and red cherries, along with plums, blackberries, herbs, earth, and spice.
The high acidity of Barbera makes it an instant friend with the tomato sauce, while the warm herbal and earthy notes of Barbera complement the stewed tomato sauce.
Finally, the refreshing acidity of Barbera keeps your taste buds clean and clear in between bites, ensuring every bite of Chicken Parmesan tastes like that first glorious bite.
Here’s a quick and efficient video so you don’t have to take my word for it for the goodness of the Barbera wine:
|Taste||Dark and fruity|
|Primary Flavors||Black cherry, blackberry, plum, raspberry, vanilla and mocha|
|Serving Temperature (C)||60-65 degrees|
|Storage (years)||3-5 years|
|Wine Body||Medium to full|
|Alcohol % (ABV)||13-14%|
Merlot is one of the world’s most popular red wines and America’s second favorite after Cabernet Sauvignon.
Known for its soft, sensual texture and approachable style, it’s made from red-skinned grapes that can adapt to a variety of climates to produce food-friendly wines at many price points.
Merlot can be velvety and plummy, or rich and oaky. There’s something for everyone, which is why Merlot is adored. It is a lush red wine with plum, caramel, and black cherry flavorings.
Originating from Bordeaux, Merlot is widely known for its soft tannin.
Although this wine has a minimal acidic and tannin content, it still has enough of these elements to make a good complement for dishes such as the Chicken Parmigiana.
Merlot wine is able to cut through the fats available in robust meats. Furthermore, its mild fruity flavor allows the juicy and rich flavor of the chicken to really come through, completing your experience very nicely.
Cabernet-style Merlots go well with grilled or charred meats, much like cabernets, making them a good pairing for chicken Parmigiana, especially if the chicken is grilled before being used in the dish.
You can also check out this very efficient video guide that tells you everything that you need to know about Merlot and more:
|Taste||Soft and fruity|
|Primary Flavors||Plum, blackberry|
|Serving Temperature (C)||57 - 59 degrees|
|Storage (years)||3 -5 years|
|Wine Body||Medium - full|
|Alcohol % (ABV)||11.5 -13.5%|
Dolcetto is a red wine grape best known in the Piedmont region in Italy, with smaller plantings elsewhere. The Dolcetto grape ripens early and produces wines with profoundly deep color.
The Dolcetto is a deeply fruity red wine that also gives you a lip-smacking soft and delicious taste and feels pairs excellently with the Parmigiana by helping cut through its layers of different ingredients.
We would recommend Dolcetto even more if you are partaking in a meaty dish such as the delicious Chicken Parmigiana. Nothing makes the flavors stand out quite as much!
Dolcetto will pair well with many foods, and its light tannins make it especially congenial with salami, sausages, pastas with mushrooms or meat sauces, and pizzas.
You can also try it with burgers, ribs, and roast chicken. It would pair very nicely, therefore, with your Parmigiana.
Check out this video for more insight on this lovely wine and how to perfectly pair it with your lasagne palate for an amazing time:
Quick Guide: Wine Pairing with Chicken Parmigiana
As mentioned, Chicken Parmigiana pairs best with fruity but herbal reds like Chianti Classico, Barbera, Dolcetto, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
When it comes to red wine, acidity is a must, as wines that are balanced heavier with tannin will clash with the tomato sauce.
Thus, with Chicken Parmigiana, you’ll want to avoid any red wines that have seen heavy aging in oak, as oak adds tannin.
For white wines to match with Chicken Parmigiana, an Italian Pinot Grigio or Soave will pair up just fine, however it won’t blow your mind.
Sparkling wines, such as Champagne and Prosecco work better than white wine as the bubbles clear your palate of the rich tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, and fried breading.
If the Chicken Parmigiana is served on a bed of buttery noodles, Chardonnay should work well.
Remember that at the end of the day, it comes down entirely to your own personal preferences and wants.
Keep in mind that I would strongly recommend reds over whites, however, if whites are more to your liking, go with any just mentioned.
Otherwise, any of the wines recommended on this guide should work great with your Chicken Parmigiana. Enjoy!
The sauces used with pasta are also very important. For red sauces, as are used in chicken Parmigiana, red wine and not a white should be served, even though chicken is the meat component.
Why is it important to pair Chicken Parmigiana with wines with high acidity?
The sauce delivers acidity and some sweetness. The cheese brings the fat. Wines like Barbera and Sangiovese can match the acidity and keep tabs on the richness, too.
I hope this guide has helped you understand how to pair wines with your Chicken Parmigiana!
Let me know if you have any other tips or hacks.
Do share it with other wine lovers you know!