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What Kind Of Drink Pairs Best With A Classic Chicken Marsala?

skillet of chicken marsala
skillet of chicken marsala - from my point of view/Shutterstock

Not every dish needs to shatter new culinary frontiers; sometimes, the classics are classics for a reason. So it is with chicken marsala, an Italian-American concoction consisting of boneless slices of chicken tenderized with a mallet, then lightly fried and topped with a marsala wine sauce with mushrooms. It may not be a complicated dish -- we've all had it at some point -- but when it's done right, it's a dish that can absolutely sing.

But dinner isn't just about the food; you also need to know what alcoholic beverages pair best with that food. In the case of chicken marsala, the clear choice here is wine; it's a wine-based dish, so of course, wine should be what you drink with it. But which wines? The good news is there's not one choice: You have a bunch of options that can work. There are reds, whites, and even blush wines that go great with marsala. You just have to know which ones to stick with.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Every Category Has A Type Of Wine That Works With Marsala

glass of red wine with bottle
glass of red wine with bottle - Sykkel/Getty Images

If you're talking about a standard chicken marsala, the single best wine to pair with it might be pinot noir. Marsala is a red wine, so red is a great pairing option -- and pinot noir is pretty much the lightest and most versatile red wine you can find (in addition to being the healthiest). Pinot tends to have its own mushroom notes, which are an excellent match for the mushrooms in the marsala -- and it isn't going to overpower the dish it's with. Gamay also works since it's a more acidic red that cuts through the sauce's richness without erasing its flavor.

But if you're not a fan of reds, you're not out of luck, either, because plenty of white wines also work. Chief among these is pinot grigio, whose citrus notes and light, crisp flavor will enhance the marsala sauce. But chenin blanc is also a great choice for the same reason, and it brings a bit of sweetness that can really complement the dish.

Which Wine You Should Use Depends On The Sauce

plate of chicken marsala
plate of chicken marsala - olga's captured moments/Shutterstock

The other important thing to consider is that the wine you go with can vary depending on the qualities of the sauce itself. Though chicken marsala tends to be on the lighter side, a heavier version of the classic sauce will change which wines will pair best. If the sauce is darker and more robust, you might want to go with a merlot or a malbec -- darker than pinot noir, certainly, but not nearly as dark as something like a cabernet sauvignon. If the dish is lighter but more rich and butter-forward, a more full-bodied white wine like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc will work well according to the same principle.

Ultimately, wine pairing is about balancing flavors without overpowering any of them. It's no different with chicken marsala; just make sure the taste can shine through, and it'll be a great meal.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.