Top pairings | Four favourite wine matches for coq au vin

Top pairings

Four favourite wine matches for coq au vin

Today (May 29th) is bizarrely National Coq au Vin day (who on earth decides these things?) and here, on cue, are four of my favourite wine pairings for this classic French dish.

So far as I can make out the original recipe comes from Burgundy though I’m sure other regions would contest this - and it makes sense to drink the same or a similar wine to the one you use to pour over the chook. I'd recommend a light to medium-bodied red with good acidity.

Red burgundy
The classic match - sometimes the dish is called coq au Chambertin which really would be rather grand. No need to spend that much obviously. Use a minor red burgundy to make the dish and the best one you can afford to drink with it

Other Burgundian-style pinot noirs
Same logic. I would choose one with a bit of acidity though rather than a very fruit-driven one. German spätburgunder, New Zealand or Oregon pinot noir, for example

Serious Beaujolais
Like a Morgon.

A southern Rhône or Languedoc red
This will give a more rustic result but is a) perfectly satisfying and b) quite a bit cheaper than good red burgundy. Own label Côte du Rhône for example is particularly good value to cook with.

If the dish is made with white wine - such as coq au riesling in Alsace - it obviously makes sense to drink white wine rather than red.

If you want to try your hand at an authentic coq au vin here's a recipe from The Balthazar Cookbook.

Photo © zoryanchik

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Comments: 1 (Add)

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sba on February 11 2016 at 22:59

Sorry, but the pinot noirs don´t quite fit the match even if everyone seem to recommend them. ´though the dish is French in origin, I´d prefer, and recommend, an italian fruity for this. Sicilian, perhaps. Or probably. Why? When you cook the meat in red wine, what remains are the brute material of the wine, not the ´bouquet,´which is the, well, final ´flavour´ you taste when you drink it. Therefore, on the face of it, a pinot noir in the sauce loses its character by the cooking and what remains is, well, the brute stuff. And the brute stuff is closer to the fruity tastes, the raw material, of the grape. Then there´s the chicken, which isn´t particularly flavour-ish itself. Combined you´ll find brute grape flavouring a non´particular sort of meat. Which means you have to pair the combinatorial forces of the whole dish. Thus fruity, and that´s perhaps wht the Rhone or the Languedocs are recommended as alternatives. But that´s exactly why one ought to travel further afield and pick an Italian. The southern Italians have the ´bouquet´ while they maintain their fruity character. This is true also for the more pricy ones. So why not pick a Sicilian for the French classic? It´ll do you some good!

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