The modern chicken is a descendent of the red and grey junglefowl that have been living in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. As early as 600 BC, in Babylonian carvings, people have been depicted gnawing on chicken drumsticks, and today is the second most consumed meat in the world. Famously, Poulet Bresse (from France) are some of the best in the world but UK farms breed chickens that are of a special class, too.
The roasting of chicken became very popular in the middle ages and today it is our favourite Sunday lunch. Served with carrots, greens, roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce and gravy, you can see why.
As for wine pairings, we recommend the following:
Classic: Cuilleron Viognier IGP – based in Chavanay (just south of Condrieu in the Rhone valley), Yves Cuilleron has been in charge of the estate since 1987, and in that time has created a reputation of being one of the best. The grapes for this Vin de Pay (or IGP as it’s now known) are sourced from vineyards close to the winery and fermented in stainless steel. The wine is then aged for 6 months in small oak barrels and steel. Although not as big as a Condrieu this is still a pretty full-bodied white wine and it will work particularly well if you use a spicier stuffing, or one with soft fruits like apricot.
Sommelier's Choice: Lequin Colin Back to the Roots – the traditional match is white Burgundy, and the good stuff at that. The buttery oak, and rich Chardonnay texture work hand in hand with your roast chicken. Many will suggest a Meursault or Chassagne Montrachet, but our pick is a fabulous Bourgogne Blanc from Domaine Lequin Colin, based in Santenay. All his vineyards have been certified organic since 2012, and biodynamic practices were introduced in 2010. This is fermented in oak, then aged for a further 12 months in oak (20% new) and could easily be picked as a Cru wine in a blind tasting. Luckily for us, however, it’s from the ‘wrong side of the (vineyard) tracks’ and the price is much more friendly than it would otherwise be!
The Wild Card: Nathan Kendall, a Finger Lakes (New York) native and an internationally trained winemaker founded his winery in 2011, out of passion for creating old world style wines using quality grapes and minimal intervention. This Pinot Noir has fresh red berry fruit with an enjoyable weight and texture on the palate. The barrel aging helps this wine maintain a more fruit forward profile, whilst remaining delicate and fresh. The weight of the wine with the fresh berry fruit and minterality will work fantastically with a roast and it is also very forgiving of different spices and seasoning (a spicy paprika rub, for instance).