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story.lead_photo.caption Chicken is a versatile protein that pairs well with a variety of wines. Democrat-Gazette file photo

Chicken continues to be a staple for weeknight dinners in my house.

The lean protein is easy to cook (and I'm not that great of a cook), and generally inexpensive. But the main reason may be its versatility. It can be transformed into anything from Italian, Indian, Asian to Southern in a matter of minutes depending on spices, cooking methods and sauce.

Another thing I love about chicken is how easily it lends itself to exploring new wines. Chicken may be the one protein that can match with just about any wine produced. The key is how the chicken is cooked and the additional ingredients and sauces.

The following are some of my favorite pairings.

■ Chicken with curry sauces and Spanish Cava

THE VALUE

NV Freixenet Brut Cava, Spain (about $10 retail)

THE SPLURGE

NV Sumarroca Cava Brut, Spain (about $19 retail)

■ Oven Roasted Chicken and Pinot Noir

THE VALUE

2016 Cellar No 8 Pinot Noir, California (about $9 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2016 A to Z Oregon Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $21 retail)

■ Chicken breast in cream sauces and riesling

THE VALUE

2017 J. Lohr Monterey Riesling, California (about $10 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2017 Anne Amie Yamhill Riesling, (about $18 retail)

■ Barbecued or grilled chicken and zinfandel

THE VALUE

2016 Bonterra Zinfandel, California (about $14 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2016 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel, California (about $19 retail)

■ Chicken gumbo and Champagne or sparkling wine

THE VALUE

NV Aime Boucher Brut, France (about $23 retail)

THE SPLURGE

NV Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, California (about $49 retail)

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London's Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203, or email:

uncorked@thewinecenter.com

Food on 01/09/2019

Print Headline: Chicken and wine are an easy pairing

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