Wine Pairing with Chicken Parmesan

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
Published January 8th, 2023

Chicken Parmesan is a classic Italian dish that's sure to please. Not only is it delicious, but it also pairs perfectly with a glass of wine.

Wine Pairing with Chicken Parmesan.

Whether you're looking for something light and refreshing or fruitier and more complex, there are plenty of options to choose from. In this article we’ll be discussing some of the basic things that you should know before pairing your chicken parmesan with wine, and some of the best red and white wine options. Without any further ado, let’s see how you can experience the flavors of Italy in your own kitchen with this timeless dish!

Wine pairing with Chicken Parmesan: the basics

The authentic Chicken Parmesan recipe calls for tender chicken breasts with a hearty tomato sauce, melted parmesan and a lot of herbs, including dried italian herbs, garlic powder and fresh basil. The amount of herbs, as well as the rich tomato sauce, need a wine that is strong enough to stand up to those flavors without overpowering them.

However, we understand that you might prepare your Chicken Parmesan in a different way. Many people don’t have the time to make their own homemade red sauce and choose to get a pre-made one, which is usually lighter. Or you might find that you have some herbs missing while cooking. Luckily, there’s no need to worry. You should keep in mind that, if for whatever reason, you make your sauce lighter, then you’ll have to go for a lighter wine as well.

Generally, both red and white wines pair amazingly with Chicken Parmesan. The main characteristics that you want your wine to have is a slight fruitiness with low acidity, and if you’re a fan of reds you’ll want to choose something that’s low on tannins. Trust us when we say that your dinner can easily get ruined by a highly acidic or tannic wine that will leave your mouth dry.

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Best wine for Chicken Parmesan - Primitivo.

Best wine for Chicken Parmesan

I have discovered throughout the years that an Italian Primitivo is the wine that I particularly prefer matching with Chicken Parmesan. Primitivo pairs well with hearty, earthy meals, notably those containing tomato sauce, because of its low tannin and mild acidity as well as its laid-back personality. Although connected to the Zinfandel grape, Italian Primitivo has a stronger Italian influence. Primitivo has more acidity and is less jammy than Zinfandel and has more  rustic flavors like tobacco, earth, black pepper, smoke, and spices.

A perfect example of this wine would be the 2018 Morella La Signora Primitivo Salento IGT.

Red wine with Chicken Parmesan.

Red wine with Chicken Parmesan

Chianti Classico, Barbera, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and Pinot Noir are also excellent wines to pair with chicken parmesan. When it comes to red wine, acidity is essential, as tannin-heavy wines will clash with the tomato sauce. Therefore it’s best to avoid any red wines that have been heavily aged in oak, as oak is used to add tannin to the wine.

Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico is a red Italian wine made from at least 80% Sangiovese. Having high acidity, it pairs well with the rich tomato sauce and complements the sweet tomato flavors with bright cherry and plum flavors. The Chianti's high acidity cuts through the chicken breast, elevating the chicken flavors so they aren't completely buried beneath the sauce, mozzarella cheese, and the coat of bread crumbs. With each sip of Chianti Classico, you'll get plenty of earth notes, herbs, minerality, and smoke, which will complement the herbs of the sauce.

If you’re looking for a great savory and classic Chianti to pair with your chicken parmesan, try the 2018 Bindi Sergardi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir has a fruity flavor that pairs well with red sauces and its acidity also makes it ideal for this wine-chicken-parmesan pairing. Acidic fruit flavors like cherry and raspberry prepare the palate and blend with the bold flavors of a hearty red sauce, rather than allowing the sauce to overpower the wine. Pinot Noir's tannins are also smoother than those found in other reds, making sure that your palate does not dry out while enjoying your dinner.

This 2021 Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir comes straight from the Burgundy region of France and it’s ready to accompany your chicken parmesan with its delicate flavor of red fruits and silky tannins.


Although Barbera wines have a dark color, they have a softer flavor and intensity, making them a great match with chicken parmesan. Italian Barbera pairs well with tomato-based recipes like chicken parmesan since it is typically high in acidity and mild in tannin. This wine pairs well with this dish since it is light, sweet, and fruity with notes of cherry, raspberry, and plum as well as touches of earthiness, spice, and herbs.

If you’re looking for a wine that will perfectly showcase your chicken parmesan, try the 2018 Scagliola Sansi Selezione. It’s acidity will bring out all the flavors in your dish while it’s fruity character will refresh your palate.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Last but not least, we have another classic Italian wine. Since Montepulciano d' Abruzzo wines are usually viewed in the wine market as "crowd pleasers," meaning they have moderate amounts of tannin and acidity in a harmonious balance, this combination should not come as a surprise. Even the most herbaceous tomato sauces pair perfectly with the red fruit notes and medium acidity of the wine, and the medium tannin levels are strong enough to balance the fatty elements of the cheese.

If you’re looking for a low priced but great wine that will make a great addition to your dinner table, try this 2017 Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. It has a light character and offers luscious red fruit on the palate, which is framed by a fine tannic texture and boosted by lively acidity. A perfect match for your chicken parmesan.

White wine with Chicken Parmesan

It’s really incredible how this recipe can pair amazingly with both white and red wines. When thinking of foods that pair well with white wines we mostly think of seafood or creamy dishes like chicken Alfredo. Some might even tell you that white wines and red sauces don’t go together, but the following wine recommendations will prove them wrong.


Chardonnay has a neutral flavor with subtle citrus, blossom, apple, and almond notes. It has a medium body, medium acidity and every time you take a sip, you get a different flavor. Chardonnay is a good wine to pair with chicken parmesan because its crispness will balance the dish's full texture.

We suggest going for an unoaked Chardonnay, such as this Italian-made 2021 Alturis Chardonnay Venezia Giulia IGT. It is beautifully fragrant and yet not heavy on the palate. Overall, a perfect match for chicken parmesan.

Pinot Grigio

You’ve probably heard the saying “what grows together, goes together”, and this becomes apparent when talking about Italian made Pinot Grigio and chicken parmesan. For the most part, Pinot grigio is classified as a dry white wine and while most people associate Pinot Grigio with seafood, it also pairs well with chicken parmesan. A good Pinot Grigio will not overpower the tomato sauce and cheese flavors in the dish.

Try the 2021 La Tunella Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli if you’re looking for a rich and mineral wine that will bring a harmonious finish to your palate.

Sparkling wine with Chicken Parmesan

Sparkling wines are a surprisingly good match for chicken parmesan. While you probably wouldn’t think of pairing champagne with this recipe, it’s definitely worth a try. Sparkling wines serve as palate cleansers, which means that they remove the flavors of the tomato sauce and cheese and leave your palate ready for the next bite.


Since we mentioned sparkling wines, Prosecco is a great option. Prosecco's green apple and honeysuckle aromas are sweet and fragrant, and they go nicely with juicy chicken and even a lighter red sauce. Additionally, prosecco has a toasted bread flavor that enters the chicken's crisp coating and gives it life.

If you’re feeling ready to try the sparkling wine and chicken parmesan combination, go for the Cartizze Dry, Bisol. An excellent dry Prosecco that will leave you wondering what else you can pair it with.


Lambrusco is an Italian red grape that is used to make one of the world's most unique and interesting sparkling wines. These semi-sweet sparkling wines have strong flavor notes reminiscent of berries and baked goods. The wine community is well aware that sparkling wine pairs well with breaded dishes, because the bubbles interact wonderfully with the texture of a crispy crust. Lambrusco also pairs well with chicken parmesan because the sweet flavors complement the cheese.

Try the rose 2018 Medici Ermete Unique Spumante Metodo Classico Rose Brut for a combination that you’ll come back to again and again.


We’ve now reached the end of this article and we hope that we’ve covered everything you wanted to know about what wines go best with chicken parmesan. There is no doubt that I’ll be making this dish at some point during the week so that I can enjoy some of my favorite combinations that this article has revived. As always, you’re welcome to try your own combinations and find out what matches your palate best.


Photo credits Jose Nicdao