What you eat drastically impacts the flavor of the wine you drink along with it, and certain types of wine might overpower your food choice. When it comes to pairing wine and food, it’s all about balancing the primary flavors of each. In the case of pairing wine with chicken Alfredo, which is a heavy, creamy, cheesy dish, you’ll want a heavier, fuller-bodied wine.
Since chicken Alfredo is an Italian dish, it's normal to want to gravitate towards an Italian wine. If this is the case, try a pinot grigio from Italy’s Friuli region. Friuli, located in Northeast Italy near the Slovenia border, tends to produce pinot grigio that’s acidic and crisp with a pronounced minerality, which will pair well with a creamy, buttery Alfredo sauce. Pinot grigio also typically contains a decent amount of acid, which can stand up to the savory characteristics of an Alfredo sauce without losing its refreshing flavor.
Chardonnay will marry nicely with chicken Alfredo, as long as it hasn't been aged in oak. Overly oaky chardonnay and creamy pasta dishes, especially chicken Alfredo, just don't mix. A restrained chardonnay is a much better choice. Chardonnay typically has a buttery characteristic, which compliments the buttery flavor of an Alfredo sauce. An unoaked chardonnay from France's Burgundy region is a great choice for a chicken Alfredo dinner. Australia's Margaret River region and California's Russian River Valley are also known for tasty restrained chardonnay.
A dry viognier is another appealing wine partner for chicken Alfredo. Viognier tends to be bone dry and relatively high in alcohol, which allows this wine to hold its own when paired with a strong Alfredo-based dish. A few flavor characteristics of viognier that give it its full-body feel include violet, apricot and spice. Some of the best viognier comes from France's Northern Rhone region. California also produces delicious viognier.
Just because you're having chicken with a rich, creamy Alfredo sauce, that doesn't mean you have to stick with white wine. In fact, throw that old adage about pairing chicken with white wine and red meat with red wine out the window right now. Red wine definitely has its place next to this popular dish, especially an Italian Barbera. Alfredo sauce is full of Parmesan cheese, which can be quite strong on the pallet, and Barbara has the high acid content to compliment this savory, yet cheesy dish.
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- The Everything Guide to Wine; Peter Alig
- Wine and Spirits: Understanding Style and Quality; The Wine & Spirit Education Trust
- Into Wine: Best Wine to Pair with Cream Sauce Pastas
- Into Wine: Best Wine to Pair with Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
Kyle Therese Cranston is a freelance writer and editor. She is the co-editor of the award-winning book series "Mug of Woe" and the author of "All Girls Heart Tiffany" and the "Newcomer's Handbook For Moving to and Living in Boston." When she isn't writing, Kyle enjoys spending time with her husband and two little munchkins.