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 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!
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.
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!