A dish with a lot of upfront acidity, like this one, needs a wine that is equally assertive in that category. These three -- a Champagne, an albarino from western Spain and a riesling from northern Italy -- bring the acidity, along with bright fruit and aromatic notes all their own.
CITRUS-TEQUILA POACHED CHICKEN
Slide 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs into a zip-close bag. Whisk together 1 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 ounces blanco tequila, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over chicken. Marinate, 30 minutes. Transfer chicken and marinade to a large skillet; simmer until chicken is done, turning once, about 12 minutes. Serve chicken topped with your favorite homemade guacamole. Makes: 4 servings
Recipe by Joe Gray
Pairings by sommelier Rachael Lowe of Spiaggia, as told to Michael Austin:
Philippe Gonet Grande Reserve Brut Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Champagne, France: This nonvintage bubbly is composed of 60 pinot noir, 30 percent chardonnay and 10 percent pinot meunier, offering aromas of golden apple, Bosc pear, hazelnut, toast and a hint of smoke. The bright acidity and bubbles will perfectly cut through the richness of the guacamole and chicken.
2016 Bodegas Ethereo Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain: This wine's notes of tangerine rind, lime blossom, nectarine and green almond come together on the palate with a viscous texture. The orange and lime notes will work well with the orange juice in the dish, while the wine's acidity will work well with the tequila and chicken.
2015 Ettore Germano Herzu Riesling, Piedmont, Italy: From a well-respected producer of Barolo who happens to have an affinity for riesling, this wine has aromas of ripe peach, green apple, honeysuckle, spice and wet stone, which will complement the spice of the cumin. The wine's bracing acidity will also balance the fatty quality of the avocado.
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