Wine & Wings: A Pairing Guide

No matter if you crank up the heat or opt for the mild version, chicken wings are one of the most American foods out there (aside from burgers and brats of course). But all of these patriotic foods seem to always be served with beer. What’s with that? If you’re like us and you’ve always wanted a glass of vino with your chicken wings, we’ve got your next wing night covered.


Mild

Hey, all you barbecue and honey mustard lovers out there, these pairings are for you. If you’re licking a smokey barbecue sauce off your fingers, use a wet nap and then reach for something red, like a Malbec or a Zin. The smokiness of the barbecue sauce will match perfectly with these full-bodied reds. For those who like their wings a little sweeter, opt for a wine on the sweeter side as well. Vinos like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the perfect choice to pair with your honey mustard or honey BBQ chicken wings. The Chardonnay will help counteract the sweet heat of honey mustard, whereas Pinot Noir’s acidity and red wine qualities pair best with a sweeter BBQ sauce.


Spicy

For all you heat freaks out there, pop open some dry whites. We’re talking Riesling, Champagne, and even Gewürztraminer (the sweeter the better). Since you like to challenge your taste buds with spicy buffalo and atomic wings, these wine pairings will help you beat the heat. While we love a good red as much as the next person, make sure to steer clear of red wines when you’re out for spicy wings. But if you just can’t help yourself, aim for a red with low alcohol content and fewer tannins, like Zinfandel. The smoother the taste, the better for your tongue.

Now let’s say you’re not quite ready to go nuclear with spice, but your taste buds prefer something hotter than mild. If you’re more into Teriyaki or Jerk wings, sweeter reds will help you tame the spice. Pick up some Garnacha or Rosé with your takeout wings and revel in this magnificent pairing.  


Seasoned

You might not be a spice junkie, but you do enjoy your chicken wings nicely seasoned. You seem rational, we like that. If you’re chowing down on lemon-pepper wings, be sure to have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc handy. The acidity and earthy flavors of this vino will match your lemony wings scrumptiously. If you’re into garlic parmesan wings, sip on some Pinot Grigio. It’s light, refreshing, and hopefully will cover up most of your garlic breath. With seasoned wings, you’ll generally want to pair them with a lighter wine, since your wings aren’t doused in rich sauces.

No matter how you sauce them, there’s a wing for everyone, and a bottle of wine to go with it! Next time you’re ordering out, or more realistically, ordering in, be sure to have one of these vinos around to ramp up your wing night. Cheers!

Here’s an awesome visual guide by BroBBQ to help you pair drinks with your bbq!

Pairing Wine and Beer With BBQ Chart
Sources: Serious Eats, Wine Spectator, Food and Wine, VinePair

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of winos with a passion for vino. With our amazing wine director at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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