Summer Grilling Whites

5 grilled chicken recipes and the wines that work perfectly with them

 


Grilled chicken and seafood recipes are summer staples, inviting you into a rich world of white and rose wines.

While a good steak is pretty easy to pair with wine, with so many red wines ready to fill the role, the lighter grilled chicken and seafood recipes are a bit trickier. Many people like to top their grilled steaks with sauces and marinades, but the best steak is just that, a perfectly aged, perfectly grilled slab of beef, so wine pairing is simple and easy. With seafood, and chicken in particular, there are sauces, marinades and rubs that come into play. Let's take a look at some of the most deliciously common styles of grilled chicken and work out the best wine pairings for each.

Chicken Dijon Grilled on a Bed of Thyme

Herbs, mustard, scallions and a sweet touch of paprika come together in this recipe lending subtle yet assertive flavors to an otherwise simple preparation. This just screams out for a Sauvignon Blanc, and one that’s not too fruity yet one that celebrates the herbal nature intrinsic in Sauvignon Blanc. What else but Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc would work perfectly here? Herbal with a hint of chile over a base of firm citrus fruits, that’s just what you need to work with this French inspired recipe.

Two to try:

Pascal Jolivet Pouilly Fume ($24)


Jean Reverdy Sancerre la Reine Blanche ($24)

 

Spicy Chile Grilled Chicken

Chicken can be such a neutral base that almost any style of preparation can be made to work spectacularly well when grilling. Case in point the myriad spicy cooking styles that saturate cookbooks and websites. We love our spicy food, that’s for sure, but what wine works best when we need to douse the fire in our mouths? This recipe starts us out on the right foot, as it combines a bit of sweetness that helps to temper that heat. A bold rose with an edge of sweetness would work perfectly here, standing up to the heat and dealing with the touch of sweetness this recipe delivers. And yes, that is white Zinfandel you’re seeing down there. Every wine has its moment! If you just can’t do white Zin, Rose d’Anjou is France’s answer, a classic off-dry rose!

Two to try:

Buehler Vineyards Rosé Blend ($10)

Remy Pannier Rosé d'Anjou ($12)


 

Five-Spice Grilled Chicken Thighs with Blackberry Glaze

OK, we’re definitely getting fancy here, using both a glaze and rub to build up layers of flavors on our chicken. This is sweet, and spiced, and all sorts of crazy for the wine pairing professional. So what do we need to find? Something red for the blackberries, and perhaps a little sweet for the spiciness. That ginger throws a wrench in the works since it can work well with either new French oak, which can have a gingery smell, or something exotically spiced like Gewurztraminer. Sounds like a disaster of dead ends, until we start popping corks on Lambrusco! A touch sweet, fruity, red and sparklingly spicy it’s a winner, and served chilled on a hot summer’s afternoon with this recipe it should be killer.

Two to try:

Barbolini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro ($15)


Cavicchioli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Col Sassoso ($18)

 

Grilled Chicken with Italian Salsa

Here’s a real celebration of summer. Using the freshest tomatoes will really rock this recipe, Lagrein rose does not ususally spring to mind when one thinks of Italy and tomatoes, but its deep fruit and subtle herbal edge makes it perfect for this recipe.

Two to try:

Cantina Convento Muri-Gries Lagrein Rose ($17)


Alois Lageder Lagrein Rose ($17)


 

Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Kebabs with Lemon and Garlic

Sneak some shrimp on the barbie! This recipe is just simple, easy, and so summery. Serve over Jambalaya rice seasoned with andouille for a complete and easy meal, but these skewers could be served with just about anything and you'd still be eating like royalty. White wine from Greece is just a perfect match. Sadly, Greek wines aren’t that available across the US, but a nice Greek blend can serve as an affordable introduction to the sunny, summery wines of Greece. Expect succulent citrus flavors and mouth watering and refreshing acidity.

Two to try:

Gaia Estate White Blend Nótios ($15)


Domaine Mercouri White Blend Foloi ($15)
 

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