The Absolute Best Type Of Wine To Drink With Chicken Marsala

If you have homemade chicken marsala for two on the table and the perfect glass of wine to wash it down, can you think of a better date night? We certainly can't. Chicken marsala is one of those deceptively fancy dishes that takes hardly any time to make, and it looks impressive. It's an Italian-style chicken cutlet with a creamy marsala wine and mushroom sauce. Since you're already using wine in the sauce, you may be wondering about the best wine to serve with the finished dish. And no, the answer is not a glass of the cooking wine.


To understand the wine pairing with this dish, let's break down the main components of flavor. The protein is chicken, with a fairly neutral taste. The sauce has mushrooms, which offer umami and savory notes; and marsala wine, which will cook down to impart rich sweetness. There's the butter and cream, of course, adding rich fat and texture to the dish. So, what's missing in all this richness? Acidity.

Acid cuts fat

A dish like chicken marsala, which has creamy fats, needs acidity to cut through the richness. A wine with high acidity, like a riesling or Chablis, will pair beautifully with this dish. The acidity will cleanse the palate and make each bite taste refreshing. White wines are better suited for the delicate flavors at play here, including the protein, which is chicken. Heavy to medium-bodied white wines will work best against the rich sauce. A lighter-bodied white wine may get lost in these flavors and textures.


Red wines will also work well with chicken marsala. Stick to a lighter-bodied red like pinot noir, which has earthy fruit flavors. These will complement the umami of the mushrooms, and the fruitiness in the wine will highlight the sweetness of the marsala sauce. You can also use an age-old rule by pairing this dish with a wine from the same region. In this case, go for an Italian sangiovese. This light-bodied red has flavors of cherries, balsamic vinegar, roasted tomato, and herbs. Doesn't that sound brilliant with chicken marsala?

When in doubt, go for bubbles

Do not pigeonhole your sparkling wines simply as aperitifs. They make for wonderful pairings with main courses. Sparkling white wines, like champagne and cava, have high acidity and creamy notes of butter, brioche, and biscuit, along with fresh apples and pears. This lively freshness is refreshing against a heavy chicken marsala. Additionally, the bubbles act as scrubbers for your palate, cleansing it in each bite, especially when paired with pan-fried chicken. Sparkling rosés and lighter lambruscos will also work well here, adding some red fruit and herbal notes to the pairing. Just be sure to serve sparkling wine in the correct glass and make sure it's chilled.


So, the next time you're setting up a date night dinner of chicken marsala, be sure to pick an elegant heavy to medium-bodied white wine with high acidity, a lighter-bodied red, or a special sparkling wine to pair with it. That is what's brilliant about this humble dish — it's hard to get wrong. The wine pairings are the same way. There aren't too many wines that won't pair with delicious chicken in a creamy sauce.