Chicken parmesan is a traditional Italian dish that combines the strong flavors of tomato sauce and three types of cheeses with the texture and juiciness of a breaded chicken breast.
It is usually served over a bed of spaghetti and is finished with fresh basil leaves. The strong flavors of this Italian comfort dish require a wine with intense flavors and moderate tannin.
The wine must be flavorful enough to stand up to the variety of flavor combinations presented in the entree, and tame enough to not overwhelm the palate.
It will come as no surprise to many wine enthusiasts that the best chicken parmesan wine pairings for this quintessentially Italian dish hail from the country of Italy.
The 5 Best Choices for Chicken Parmesan Wine Pairings
The winemaking zone of Chianti is located within the world-famous Italian region of Tuscany and produces one of the most famous wine styles in all of Europe. The Sangiovese grape makes up a minimum of 70% of the Chianti blend, while Chianti Classico requires 80%.
This is a fairly “serious” red wine that carries multiple layers of flavor and develops complexity over time with oak aging. What makes Chianti such a great match for chicken parmesan dishes is the fact that it contains multitudes of flavor layers without containing any harsh tannins.
While Chianti does contain tannins, they are often characterized as “soft” or “balanced,” and the palate is not dried out when drinking Chianti. The wine carries tasting notes of black cherry and red fruit which are not overpowered by the intense acidity of the dish’s tomato sauce.
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG is one of the finest bottles of Chianti on the market today that can be found for under $50 per bottle. The Riserva Designation means that it is oak aged for an extended period, making the depth of flavor a great match for chicken parm.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale is another popular bottle from the Chianti region that makes for a fantastic pairing with chicken parmesan dishes. It uses 100 percent Sangiovese grapes, which gives it ample acidity to stand up to even the strongest tomato sauces.
Lambrusco is an Italian red wine grape that is used to make some of the most unique and interesting sparkling wines in the entire world. These semi-sweet sparkling red wines carry strong tasting notes that are often compared to berries and baked goods.
It is well known within the wine community that sparkling wine makes for a great pairing with breaded dishes, as the bubbles interact pleasantly with the texture of a crispy crust. Lambrusco makes for a perfect chicken parmesan pairing, as the sweet flavors hold up well to the cheeses.
Chicken parmesan is a quintessentially Roman dish, and some of the most famous representations of sparkling Lambrusco are produced in the Emilia-Romagna region. This is a typical pairing around Rome, and it is no surprise that these iconic staples work together.
Fiorini Becco Rosso Lambrusco Grasparossa is one of the most popular bottles of Lambrusco in production today, and it is readily available at most wine retailers for under $15. It carries luscious tasting notes of berries and cream, making it strong enough to stand up to any dish.
Cantine Ceci Otello Nero di Lambrusco 1813 Rosso Frizzante is an affordable bottle of Lambrusco that hails from the famous Emilia-Romagna region. This easy-drinking semi-sweet sparkling red carries enough complexity of flavor that it does not get lost on the palate.
Montepulciano is a widely planted Italian red wine grape that is most famously produced in the region of Abruzzo. Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo wines is well known in the wine world to be “crowd pleasers,” as they contain moderate levels of tannin and acidity in pleasant balance.
This mild red wine has gained popularity all over the globe, and it is one of the top-selling wines from the country of Italy today. It is well known as a very food-friendly wine, and chicken parmesan is no exception.
The combination of red fruit flavors and medium acidity combine to make a perfect match for even the most herbaceous tomato sauces, and the medium tannin levels of the wine are sufficient to stand up to the three types of cheeses used.
Azienda Agricola Valentini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of the most famous upscale bottles of this famous dry red wine, and it is elegant and strong enough to shine next to the strongest of dishes. It is balanced and contains plenty of layers of flavor for the most discerning palates.
Masciarelli Marina Cvetic S. Martino Rosso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a much more affordable bottle that has gained a following all over the world. It offers incredible value at under $30 per bottle and contains enough flavor and backbone to hold its own next to chicken parmesan.
The Primitivo grape is one of the best Italian wine grapes for producing easy-drinking wines that are full in body and low in tannin. It is genetically identical to the Zinfandel grape, which is a favorite among many new world wine enthusiasts.
Primitivo is rich and semi-sweet, and it carries enough strong flavors to stand up to the many strong flavors of chicken parmesan. Many wine enthusiasts compare the tasting notes of Primitivo to baked goods like cherry pie.
Primitivo is most often produced in the warm weather regions of southern Italy and often represents incredible value. Some of the best bottles of Italian Primitivo cost less than $30, making it possible to try many of the best bottles on a budget.
Cantine Due Palme ‘Pillastro’ Primitivo Puglia IGT is an affordable bottle of easy-drinking Primitivo that hails from the little-known region of Puglia. It is full of sweet and fruity tasting notes that work in harmony with the chicken breast to add layers of complexity.
For wine enthusiasts looking for a more “serious” bottle of Primitivo, Cignomoro 80 Years Old Limited Edition Vecchie Vigne Primitivo di Manduria is one of the best options on the market. It contains many layers of complex flavors that play perfectly with chicken parmesan.
Prosecco is one of the most popular styles of sparkling wine in the entire world, and it has become a favorite among many wine enthusiasts due to its neutral flavors and affordability. It is available for purchase all over the world, and can often be found for under $20 per bottle.
The tasting notes of Prosecco are often compared to pears and green apple skin, and these tangy tasting notes work in tandem with the acidity of the tomato sauce of chicken parmesan. The bubbles also play well with the crispy crust of the chicken for a textural delight.
Some of the most highly regarded bottles of Prossecco cost less than $25 per bottle, making it one of the best values in all of sparkling wine. This makes it possible to try a variety of different pairing combinations during a single meal, even while on a budget.
La Gioiosa et Amorosa Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is one of the most famous and highly rated bottles of this Italian sparkler that has gained popularity in many different parts of the world. It costs less than $20 per bottle, and pairs well with a variety of Italian dishes.
La Gioiosa et Amorosa Millesimato Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is another affordable bottle of Prosecco that works particularly well with acidic tomato based sauces. The green apple flavors of the wine play well with the tomato for a mouth-watering combination.