Top pairings | 8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken

Top pairings

8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken

Roast chicken. Possibly everyone’s favourite Sunday roast. It can take a red or a white wine so the key thing to focus on is what flavourings - or stuffing - you put with it and the sides you serve.

If you’re cooking it simply with its own roasting juices I’d incline towards a white or light red. Roast it British-style with gravy and loads of vegetables and I’d go for a more substantial red such as a Côtes-du Rhône - though not a full-bodied one like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz unless you’re dealing with some sweetness and spice in the seasoning - as with this honey-roast chicken recipe

White burgundy or other good quality oaked chardonnay

A blissful match with a simply roast chicken without much done to it - or accompanied by mushrooms or truffles as Lucy Bridgers reports here. Also a good choice if you’re seasoning it with tarragon or serving it with a creamy sauce.


This rich white is a good choice when you have a slightly spicy stuffing or one with fruit like apricots in it.

Red burgundy or other good quality pinot noir

Again, a good choice for a simply roast chicken served with its own juices or with truffles as above.


If you’re serving the chicken at room temperature with a salad or seasoning it with lemon a good Beaujolais Villages or cru Beaujolais like a Brouilly is a good choice for spring or summer drinking

Côtes-du-Rhône Villages

The generous sweetness of a grenache-based Côtes-du-Rhône Villages is perfect If you’re making a more traditional, meaty gravy or are serving more strongly flavoured vegetables. Look out for specific villages such as Cairanne and Vacqueyras


Chicken and cider is a marriage made in heaven and that particularly applies to roast chicken. Use cider in the gravy too.

Golden or blonde ales

The beer world’s equivalent of Chardonnay: smooth, slightly sweet and just delicious with chicken. Roast chicken is also one of the staples of the Oktoberfest where they serve it with a light Helles lager but you could also enjoy it with a more full-bodied one like Budweiser Budvar or Brooklyn.


It might seem extravagant but if you’re in the mood to splash out, a full bodied champagne like Bollinger or Louis Roederer is terrific with a roast chook - it’s the umami taste of the chicken skin that does it!

See also What wine goes best with chicken - red or white?

Image ©FomaA at Adobe Stock

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Comments: 8 (Add)

Maureen Steer on April 11 2021 at 09:20

Just had roast chicken with cider - Dunkertons of course - brillant combination
Recently joined your newsletter and very grateful for the introduction to a whole range of interesting wines I would not have picked up otherwise !
Cheers !!

Chris B on April 21 2017 at 07:52

Had roast chicken over the Easter weekend with Eileen Hardy chardonnay, which was absolutely sublime. A really lovely wine.

Nitpicker on September 13 2015 at 23:55

Surely Vacqueyras is no longer a CdR Village?

Fiona Beckett on January 3 2015 at 15:12

That would make a refreshing change. Nice idea!

Stephen on January 3 2015 at 14:48

This year I had a nice Riesling with my roast chicken Christmas dinner. Its so flavourful and goes down really easily.

Stefano from Trieste (Italy) on October 20 2013 at 21:31

I love roast chicken and I like all the matches even if I prefer wine as my personal taste ....

Fiona Beckett on September 4 2013 at 07:04

Funnily enough have been reading about them just yesterday and I agree. Will correct that - thanks

siepert on September 3 2013 at 23:10

fabolous suggestions all, actually made me crave both wine and chicken now, one minor correction: the beers served at oktoberfest are export strength plus, so actually punchier and more full bodied than either budvar or brooklyn. not that they're available for purchase in the uk, but hey.

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