10 Best Wine Pairing with Butter Chicken

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Quick Answer: Wine Pairing with Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a type of dish that goes equally well with red and white wines. It tastes its best when paired with wines like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Primitivo, and Vermentino. Pair any of these wines with butter chicken for a sweet and spicy dining venture.

This is a detailed guide to help you find the best wine to complement butter chicken and please your taste buds.

I’ve developed this article by putting in hours of intensive research along with my personal experiences. So that you never have to compromise when it comes to wine pairing with butter chicken.

Let’s get started.

But first, let’s get to know a bit more about butter chicken before we get to know the details about the best wines to pair it with.

About Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is an Indian curry dish, originally from Delhi. It is also known as murgh makhani. It contains boneless chicken pieces with spicy tomato sauce and butter.

The curry comes with a rich texture and a consortium of several flavors of spice, sweetness, and butter.

Butter chicken has a similar profile to that of chicken tikka masala, another Indian dish.

So, are you gushing over some butter chicken already? But before that let’s find the perfect wine match for it.

Best Wines To Go With Butter Chicken

Here are my top wine picks which go very well with chicken –

1. Pinot Noir

NamePinot noir
OriginFrance
TasteDry and sweet
Primary FlavorsCherry and raspberry
AcidityBright acidity
Serving Temperature (C)55-60 degrees 
Glass TypeBurgundy
Storage (years)5 years
Wine BodyLight - Medium
Alcohol % (ABV)12-15%

Pinot Noir comes with a rich fruity flavor along with a velvety and vibrant ruby shade. It comes with a consortium of distinct flavors each maintaining its individuality.

With a dry taste and full-bodied texture, Pinot Noir comes in distinct flavors like smoky, fruity, and earthy notes.

Pinot Noir comes with few tannins and less acidity making it a perfect pair for butter chicken as the meat’s natural flavor won’t get overpowered by the wine.

Check out this video to better understand Pinot Noir:

2. Sangiovese

NameSangiovese
OriginTuscany
TasteBone-dry
Primary FlavorsCherry, roasted tomato, oregano
AcidityMedium-high
Serving Temperature (C)15-20 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyMedium to Full-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15 %

Sangiovese is a red wine whose flavors depend upon the region from where the grapes have been obtained. You can get a dry, semi-sweet, and sweet Sangiovese wine bottle based on the sugars added to it.

Along with the fruity flavors mentioned above, Sangiovese comes with savory notes of tomatoes, smoke, herbs, and tobacco.

With medium to high tannin levels and medium to full-bodied texture, Sangiovese makes an incredible pair with butter chicken.

Click on the below-given link to know more about Sangiovese:

3. Gewurztraminer

NameGewurztraminer
OriginGermany
TasteOff-Dry
Primary FlavorsLychee, rose, grapefruit
AcidityLow
Serving Temperature (C)3-7 degrees C
Glass TypeWhite
Storage (years)3-5 years
Wine BodyMedium-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15 %

Gewurztraminer is a white wine with a floral and lychee-like aroma. It comes with sweet fruity flavors topped with spicy notes of black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger.

It has nominal levels of tannins. The Gewurztraminer grapes are a mutated version of Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Gewurztraminer is a classic pairing option with butter chicken as it complements the spicy vibe of the dish due to its slightly sweet and buttery taste.

Learn the basics of Gewurztraminer through this video:

4. Cabernet Franc

NameCabernet Franc
OriginFrance
TasteDry
Primary FlavorsRaspberry, Strawberry, and Red Plum
AcidityMedium - Highly Acidic
Serving Temperature (C)17 - 20 degrees
Glass TypeBurgundy Wine Glass
Storage (years)1 - 3 years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)10 - 11%

Cabernet Franc is a bright red wine lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon. Its taste surrounds flavors of red fruits, earthy notes, and herbs. It comes with a delicate and aromatic feel with dominant aromas of cherry.

Meaty dishes like butter chicken can form an irresistible food combination with Cabernet Franc due to the wine’s light body, fruity flavors, and acidity levels.

Get ample insights about Cabernet Franc through this quick video:

5. Cabernet Sauvignon

NameCabernet Sauvignon
OriginFrance
TasteDry and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlackcurrant, cedar, oaks, herbs
AcidityHighly acidic
Serving Temperature (C)59-68 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux / Standard red
Storage (years)7-10 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)Over 13.5%

Cabernet Sauvignon comes with a dark fruity taste of black cherry, blackberry, and blackcurrant with hints of vanilla, wood, and spice.

It comes with a medium to full-bodied texture, medium levels of acidity, and moderate to high tannins.

The acidity, alcohol percentage, and tannin levels of this wine complement butter chicken exceptionally well. It excellently strikes a balance with the spicy flavors of the dish.

Click on the below-given link to know more about Cabernet Sauvignon:

6. Merlot

NameMerlot
OriginFrance
TasteDark and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlack cherry, blackberry, plum, raspberry, vanilla and mocha
AcidityModerate acidity
Serving Temperature (C)60-65 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux
Storage (years)3-5 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)13-14%

Merlot has a soft sensual texture that makes it a versatile beverage to go for. It comes with low tannins, while its flavors range from plums to black cherries with notes of vanilla, clove, and cedar.

You can either go for a light-bodied Merlot to relish along with butter chicken as this wine comes with moderate acidity and fruity notes that work well for meaty meals.

To better understand the details of Merlot, check out this quick video:

7. Sauvignon Blanc

NameSauvignon Blanc
OriginFrance
TasteDry and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlackcurrant, cedar, oaks, herbs
AcidityHighly acidic
Serving Temperature (C)59-68 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux / Standard red
Storage (years)7-10 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)Over 13.5%

Sauvignon Blanc comes with low sugar levels and high acidity levels. This gives it a refreshing feel in every sip as you experience a tingly sensation.

The dry taste along with medium-bodied texture and fruity notes like grapefruit, passion fruit, and white peach gives Sauvignon Blanc an identity of its own.

The crispiness and peppery notes of Sauvignon Blanc go flawlessly well with a spicy bowl of butter chicken.

Check out this video about Sauvignon Blanc:

8. Chardonnay

NameChardonnay
OriginFrance
TasteSweet and dry
Primary FlavorsApple and lemon
AcidityModerately acidic
Serving Temperature (C)50 degrees  
Glass TypeTraditional white wine glass
Storage (years)3-7 years
Wine BodyFull
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5 to 14.5%

Chardonnay comes with a neutral flavor. It comes with subtle notes of citrus, blossom, apple, and almonds. It’s medium-bodied along with medium acidity and moderate to high alcohol levels.

Its dry taste and light golden shade make it visually appealing. With each sip, you experience a different flavor every time.

Chardonnay is a good pairing option for butter chicken as its light wine texture will balance the full texture of the dish.

Here’s a video to get a complete gest about Chardonnay:

9. Primitivo (Zinfandel)

NamePrimitivo (Zinfandel)
OriginCroatia
TasteDry and Sweet
Primary FlavorsRaspberry, Cherry, Plum, and Blackberry
AcidityModerately Acidic
Serving Temperature (C)17 - 20 degrees
Glass TypeZinfandel Wine Glass
Storage (years)5 - 8 years
Wine BodyMedium-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13 - 15%

Primitivo is a red wine that comes along with black and red fruit flavors coupled with spicy pepper notes for that much-needed zing. It comes with low tannin levels making it an easy-to-go option for smoked dishes.

Its moderate acidity and medium-bodied texture make it an excellent pair with butter chicken as its spicy taste gets perfectly balanced.

Get insights regarding Primitivo through this video:

10. Vermentino

NameVermentino
OriginSardinia and Tuscany
TasteDry
Primary FlavorsLime, grapefruit, green apple
AcidityMedium-high
Serving Temperature (C)7-12 degrees C
Glass TypeWhite
Storage (years)3-5 years
Wine BodyMedium to light-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)11.5-13.5%

Vermentino is a white wine that comes with a subtle and salty minerality. Its fruity flavors and low tannins make it a delectable beverage for everyday meals. Its crispiness makes it a versatile drink for a variety of dishes.

Due to its versatility, you can pair Vermentino with butter chicken loaded with veggies like onions, tomatoes, and other condiments.

Get to know more about Vermentino via this video:

Quick Wine Pairing Guide for Butter Chicken

It’s a thumb rule to strike a balance between the flavors of the dish and the taste of the wine.

For instance, a dish with herbs and a bright flavor along with a light texture will complement a medium to full-bodied wine. Meaty meals should be paired with wines with high acidity to cleanse your palate.

Butter chicken, hands down, pairs exceptionally well with Pinot Noir.

Since this dish is loaded with tomatoes and spice, the savory notes of the dish get perfectly balanced with the earthy and fruity flavors of Pinot Noir.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are considered classic wine pairing options to go for with butter chicken.

Their high acidity levels will help you cleanse your palate after eating a meaty dish like butter chicken. Champagne and Rose are also high acidity wines that’ll help you cut through the fats of the chicken.

Merlot is yet another option to resort to for an ideal acidity level that will cleanse your palate plus its fruity and earthy notes will strike a poise with the savory and spicy flavor of butter chicken.

Similar is the case when it comes to a glass of Primitivo for butter chicken.

Recipe for Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is prepared by first mixing the yogurt marinade. Marinate the chicken for at least 20 minutes.

You can marinate overnight as well if time permits. The longer the marination, the softer and more flavorful the chicken will be. Sear the marinated chicken in a frying pan.

Brown charred bits on the chicken add more flavors to the dish. The final step revolves around making the tomato-based curry.

FAQs

What are the health benefits of butter chicken?

Eating butter chicken comes with multiple health benefits like reduced risk of heart diseases and weight management. This is because it comes loaded with proteins and fats along with butter. One bowl of this dish comes with around 14 g of total fats, 3.8 g of saturated fats, 27 g of proteins, and 239 calories along with nutrients like iron, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, and cobalamin.

What is the difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala?

Butter chicken and chicken tikka masala are often considered to have a similar profile. However, both these dishes differ a lot in their flavor and texture. Chicken tikka masala is hotter and spicier than butter chicken. Chicken tikka masala has onions added to its curry while butter chicken doesn’t have onions.

Which side dishes can we pair with butter chicken?

Butter chicken can be paired with a variety of dishes out there. Some of which are basmati rice, garlic butter kale rice, naan bread, samosa, broccoli, cauliflower, saag, aloo gobi, daal, garlic breadsticks, papadum, raita, ginger carrot salad, cabbage salad, roasted asparagus, chutney, cucumber salad with yogurt and lemon dressing, kachumber salad, onion rings, and chapati.

Bottom Line

Now that you’ve made it to the end, I hope this article was useful enough for you to locate your ideal wine pair for butter chicken.

If you found this article useful do share it with your loved ones.

Also, don’t forget to share with us your ideal wine pair for butter chicken, in case we missed out on it.


References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinot_noir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangiovese
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gew%C3%BCrztraminer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabernet_Franc
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabernet_Sauvignon
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauvignon_blanc
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chardonnay
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinfandel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermentino
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_wine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_wine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_wine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wine
https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine/Species-and-varieties
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_wine
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gewurztraminer
https://www.britannica.com/plant/chardonnay-grape
https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine
https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine/France
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.00990/full
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32784991/
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https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19171264/
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https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174835/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174839/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174843/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174834/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174833/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173190/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173201/nutrients
https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174110/nutrients
https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Texas/Publications/Current_News_Release/2021_Rls/tx-wine-grape-varieties-2020.pdf
https://portal.nifa.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/1014549-multi-state-coordinated-evaluation-of-winegrape-cultivars-and-clones.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_chicken


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About Jane Lewis

Jane loves spending time with her family, cooking delicious meals, traveling to explore new cultures and wines, and tending to her backyard garden. She's a passionate home cook who enjoys trying out recipes from all over the world.

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