The best chicken adobo wine pairing is simple when you follow a few wine pairing principles. Whether you come from a Filipino household or enjoy Filipino Chicken Adobo, this wine guide will get you started.
Chicken Adobo Ingredients And Flavors
The foundation of Chicken Adobo wine pairing is to understand the food’s flavors. For this example, I’ll make a few assumptions, like you want to go beyond beginner-level pairing ideas (i.e., white wine goes with white meat). Instead, let’s look at the primary flavors of this popular form of Filipino food.
Often regarded as the national dish of the Philippines, chicken Adobo starts with skinless chicken thighs (though some prefer other meats like pork belly). The other key ingredients are green onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, sugar, onion, garlic (i.e., several gloves of garlic), soy sauce, and vinegar. Taken together, these ingredients create rich adobo flavors. To reduce cooking times, I recommend using boneless chicken thighs. It’s a yummy chicken dish with delicious sauce, so don’t count on having any leftover chicken adobo.
The overall flavor of chicken adobo includes several elements. There’s sweetness from the sugar. Also, you’ll experience a tang and notes of soy. Some people make adobo with garlic rice for additional flavors. When preparing the dish at home, you can use frozen chicken thighs (or switch over to making this as a pork dish). With these savoury flavours, simply recommending white wine will not cut it.
Which Wine Pairs Best With Adobo Chicken?
Your best bet with a wine pairing is a light-bodied, young red wine. These acidic wines are strong enough to combine with Adobo sauce. Those who like the dish extra spicy, with a head of garlic and pepper flakes, for example, may need to experiment to find a wine suited to those spices.
Pinot Noir goes well with this chicken dish which typically includes cloves of garlic. For additional suggestions, check out my guide to organic Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir works well with this type of Asian Chicken dish because Pinot has considerable acidity. For more insight on what to eat with Pinot Noir, see my detailed guide to Pinot Noir food pairing.
I suggest looking for fruity wines in the Pinot Noir category, especially if you add optional ingredients like chili pepper, black pepper, and others. These additional ingredients can create quite an addictive sauce! To complement such a rich dish, you need wines with fruity qualities. If you make chicken adobo with significant brown sugar, selecting moderate acidity wines is a great choice.
Curious how much Pinot Wine costs? Check out this guide to more than a dozen Pinot Noir bottles: How much is Pinot Noir wine?
You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve to enjoy sparkling wines. Whether you splurge on Grand Cru Champagne or a more affordable Cremant de Bourgogne, sparkling wines go very well with this type of dish. Pouring a glass of bubbly wine can go a long way to making comfort food more enjoyable. Try sparkling wines with your other favorite Filipino dishes if you like this combination.
Spanish wines are a good pairing whether you’re enjoying Mexican foods or a traditional chicken adobo recipe. Rioja is a good pick for a bottle of red Spanish wine. For a white wine pick, look for a bottle of Chenin Blanc. Look for the following Spanish wines to help you navigate the wine store.
Bodegas Olarra Cerro Añon Reserva (Price: Under $20)
This affordable Spanish wine has excellent value. It is rated in the top 6% of wines from Rioja. The wine also features earthy notes, which adds to the experience.
Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva (Price: Under $20)
With 13.5% alcohol content, this Tempranillo wine is trendy in the wine community. The wine typically has multiple oaky notes, such as vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, and coffee. The wine’s fruity notes include plum and blackberry.
White Wine Pairings For Adobo Chicken
Some people prefer white wines with their chicken dishes. While that is a more difficult pairing, it can still work. An off-dry Riesling (or a semi sweet Riesling) with a fair amount of residual sugar can work well. Try some combination of German Rieslings, Canadian Riesling, or northern US Riesling (e.g., Finger Lakes from New York state).
Regardless of cooking technique, Chardonnay is often paired with chicken dishes. When chicken pieces are prepared with the bold flavors of adobo sauce, unoaked Chardonnay is not enough. Instead, it’s vital to choose an oaked Chardonnay. Instead of Petit Chablis, your best bet is to seek out a bottle of oaked Chardonnay from California. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Heitz Cellar Quartz Creek Vineyard Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District (Price: $66+)
The American Chardonnay offers both tropical fruit flavors and notes of oak. This Napa Valley wine is widely available throughout the US. Heitz Cellar states that this wine is produced using sustainable methods. In addition to chicken dishes, the wine’s intense citrus flavors make it a good pairing for seafood plates and even chicken marsala.
Beringer Vineyards ‘Luminus’ Chardonnay (Price: $45-60)
This famous California Chardonnay bottle offers a variety of rich flavors. Expect to enjoy red apple and pineapple fruit flavors. In addition, the wine has attractive oak notes of cinnamon and vanilla. Beringer has an excellent reputation as one of the oldest wineries in Napa. Wine lovers emphasize the wine’s oak notes, including butter and vanilla.
Wild Oak by St. Francis Chardonnay (Price: $20)
Produced in California’s Sonoma County, this affordable Chardonnay offers subtle flavors of citrus and lemon. With 14% alcohol content, this wine offers apple and pear notes. In addition, expect to enjoy oaky notes such as butterscotch and butter.
Are you concerned about weight gain from drinking Chardonnay? Find out more in this guide: Does Chardonnay have a lot of sugar?
Chicken Adobo Wine Pairing Conclusion
Enjoying wine with a favorite comfort food is a great way to relax. The best wine pairings for this Filipino dish included Pinot Noir, oaked Chardonnay, and Spanish wines like Rioja. If you make this dish differently (e.g., with more spices or added garlic), it may take more experimentation to find a good wine pairing.