BBQ Chicken part 2: Pairing with Idlewild Arneis

Which White to Pair with BBQ Chicken & Sweet Barbecue Sauce?
As part of #NWTW, we were testing out Zinfandel with an easy grilled chicken breast smothered in sweet barbecue sauce.  Always curious to find both red wines and white wines to pair with food, I wanted to try a white wine with the same meal. Last fall I discovered Idlewild Wines, a small California winery featuring Arneis, and I thought it would be fun to try it with the grilled chicken. Arneis isn’t an everyday name to American wine drinkers, typically found in the Piemonte region of Italy.  I was curious to see how the Idlewild compared to Italian Arneis.

Idlewild Arneis barbecue chicken

Idlewild Arneis with grilled chicken in a sweet barbecue sauce

Idlewild Arneis 2012 ($28 from the winery by mail)
eye: Pretty, clear rich golden color.
nose: Pears on the nose, nice and rich and full.
mouth: Not as steely as typical Roero Arneis, rich textured mouthfeel. Very juicy acidity. A bit of thyme in the flavor – brought out with thyme in the food.  This wine spent some time in oak, different from most of its Italian kin, so it had a bit fuller texture.  This was clearly Arneis, but a respectful interpretation and it was unique and 100% enjoyable.  Well done!

Idlewild arneis

Idlewild Arneis – respectful of Italian tradition, yet uniquely interpreted

The Idlewild Arneis was great with the barbecue, but for opposite reasons as the Zinfandel. This wine had a clean but full texture and provided a counterbalance to the sweet BBQ sauce and butternut squash.  The Arneis provided a contrast to the food, where the Zin was a match.  The Arneis was particularly good with the veggies, while refreshing the palate after bites of the chicken and squash.

Red wine?  Zinfandel White wine? Arneis Both are great choices

Both are great pairing choices. Red wine? Zinfandel White wine? Arneis

The next time you fire up your grill with a sweet barbecue sauce in the plan, choose one of these wines.  Better yet, try both!

7 Responses to “BBQ Chicken part 2: Pairing with Idlewild Arneis”
  1. Love Arneis, such good value for money too

  2. Hey, is that one of Andrea Robinson’s “One” glasses in the photos?

    • No. The glass in these photos is the Target Riedel Burgundy glass. I’d love to try Andrea’s glasses, but the shipping charges just seemed too high to order the glasses sight unseen. I’m currently being tempted by the Zalto glasses….

  3. Well,well two of my favorite producers – Bedrock and Idlewild. Like you, Idlewild is a relatively new discovery. I tried them at a 7% solution tasting several months ago. But they were among my favorites of the tasting. It’s great that you’re highlighting a white and red that pair well with the same dish!

    • Thanks Martin. I had a ticket for that tasting! I was in San Francisco for work, but plans changed late in the game and I had to miss it. Oh well, some future trip!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] grower in Mendocino county who shares that love, at Fox Hill Vineyard. Sam makes single varietal Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo. He also crafts blends from these grapes. As a fellow lover of […]

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